Letter: Cumberland parents proud, grateful

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We experienced one of the proudest days our lives when our son Patrick gradated from Greely High School. Patrick was born with Down syndrome. His success is due to the staff members and students who have touched his life in ways small and large. We want to thank you all for your expertise, friendship and kindness that helped us achieve our dream of seeing Patrick walk down the aisle with his classmates.

We are so grateful that SAD 51 embraces the philosophy of inclusion in the regular classroom. Patrick has been learning next to his peers since the age of 3. He has learned and played along with children that are now his close friends. We hope they know how important they are to him and that they have made a significant contribution to the joy Patrick feels.

His freshman year Patrick was invited by Ken Marks, the varsity basketball coach, to assist him and be the team manager. Patrick proudly accepted the job and was supervised by Kristen Marks. She taught him what to do for the team and helped him gain independence. On Feb. 3, coach Marks decided Patrick should have a shot to play in a game. A varsity starter, Sam Thompson, stepped aside voluntarily so Patrick could start. It was Patrick’s dream come true, made even sweeter when he scored 6 points. He felt like a superstar.

We wish to thank our community for all the support you have shown to Patrick and our family. We are blessed to live in a community that gives from its heart. You have made a difference for Patrick that will last through his lifetime.

Pat and Perry Thibodeau