On the Air with FACD Students
On the Air with the Sayville FACD Students
If you haven’t heard the 103.9 LINews Radio series Spotlight on Long Island Schools, hosted by Robert Vecchio and broadcast in two ten-minute segments, then you are missing out on positive news about Long Island students, teachers, and school programs.
A particularly heartwarming broadcast that aired on October 29th focused on a group of Sayville students and their experiences in the district’s groundbreaking Functional Academics and Career Development program. (See links below.)
After commenting that the students were accompanied to the radio booth by a “whole entourage” of supporters, LINews host Bob Vecchio began his interview with Sayville Special Ed administrator Tracy Von Eschen who outlined the benefits and goals that are available for the FACD students. During her introduction, Von Eschen gave a snapshot of services, explaining how FACD Special Education Teacher Donna Trpicovsky works with the students and engages them in a diversity of opportunities. Along with the academics, these students work in the school store, receive assistance from job coaches, belong to SHS sports teams, and had in the fall participated in the Homecoming preparations and the parade.
“The program is unique in that you integrate all student populations to help mentor those taking some of the vocational courses,” Vecchio stated before inviting one such mentor to the microphone. Jayna, a Sayville Freshman who had worked with special education students when she was in Sayville Middle School, expressed her sentiments that she shared with other volunteers. “My favorite part is watching them learn. It’s great to see the bond that we’ve already have together, and I know that we are going to have a lot of fun throughout the year.”
As FACD is year-round program, the students had also spent four days a week for six weeks this past summer going out to different job sites, such as Applebees, Bobs, and Petco, to learn both new skills and discover new interests. On the fifth day, they had returned to the Sayville High School’s greenhouse to reinforce their academics and business management skills.
Vecchio continued the conversation with Claire Rymer, Transition Coordinator, who has the task of preparing the students for what’s next beyond the school district. “Transition is change,” Rymer said. “Transition begins at age fifteen….we work together… with the parents and students to develop a plan for these children for when they graduate, whether it be at eighteen or whether they stay on with us until they’re twenty-one. Over the last four years, Tracy and I have worked on the program …to bring students back [to the district]…and really develop a program where there is not only emphasis on academics but there’s a huge emphasis on career and making a lot of these young kids career-ready when they leave us.”
The most inspiring part of the broadcast, however, was listening to the FACD student express themselves—after receiving gentle encouragement from Vecchio and the Sayville educators—to talk about their school program on the air. And the students, despite their personal challenges, were more than willing to try.
Highlighting their Functional Academics and Career Development program on LINews Radio was a wonderful and exciting experience for the Sayville High School “entourage.” But the real rewards came after they had signed off. Each of the students, along with their parents and educators, could not help but beam with pride for another job well done.
Sayville Board of Education President John Verdone, a great supporter of the Spotlight on Long Island Schools Radio series, had been present when the FACD students taped the show. He was thrilled with the results. “The opportunity to attend this broadcast was one of the most rewarding experiences for me. As a community, Sayville is truly blessed with dedicated staff, students and parents that put the best interest of our children first. A special thanks to Long Island News Radio and Bob Vechicco for giving us the opportunity.”
The "entourage" in attendance:
School Staff: Tracy Von Eschen, Administrator for Special Education;Claire Rymer, Transition Coordinator;Donna Trpicovsky, Special Education Teacher, Sayville Board of Education President John Verdone
Students: Julianna Sagginario, Ashley Daigle, Kaitlyn Finley, Jacob Feldman, Meghan Goerke, Julianna Intermsoli, Jayna Catalina
Links to Spotlight on Long Island Schools 103.9 LINews Radio at Long Island MacArthur Airport