Graduation day

Graduate Sammy Heisler with Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey Maggie Redden.

The Matheny School’s Principal Sean Murphy congratulated the 10 graduates of the class of 2013 on June 18, pointing out that they “never said ‘I can’t’ or ‘I won’t.’”

And in an understatement, Yasin Reddick, the class valedictorian, said, “It took a lot of work to get to this point.” That work was recognized by those who spoke before diplomas were handed out. The students were congratulated by Steve Proctor, Matheny president; Daniel McLaughlin, chair of the Matheny Board of Trustees; William Horton, mayor of Peapack-Gladstone; and keynote speaker Maggie Redden, Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey 2013. And each speaker was introduced by a non-verbal Matheny graduate, who accomplished the task through switch activation technology.

Proctor paid tribute to Matheny’s founders, Walter and Marguerite Matheny and introduced their son Chuck, who still resides at Matheny. He also singled out some of the students’ accomplishments such as Sammy Heisler’s love of music, Bianca Mathis’ accomplishments with the Girl Scouts and Natalie Tomastyk’s job at a local yoga studio. Redden, who was part of the 2008 Paralympic Track and Field team in Beijing, encouraged the graduates to “persevere” and follow their dreams.

Physical therapist Erin Meineke, left, and teaching assistant Katie Wertheim help Bryan Desatnick 'walk' to receive his diploma from principal Sean Murphy.