Anderson College honors schooling ‘pioneer’ | Information
About 50 years ago, Veryl Anderson began teaching three disabled children from the basement of Christ Church in Andover on a budget of $ 100.
That program became the Professional Center for Child Development, which now serves more than 2,000 children annually with an annual budget of $ 7.5 million and 120 employees. The centre’s core day school program for students ages 3 to 12 was recently renamed Anderson School in honor of the founder.
“(Anderson) pioneered 50 years ago when children didn’t have the educational opportunities they have today,” said Kelley Granahan, director of development and marketing. “We are here today from those humble beginnings.”
Over 100 school and community leaders gathered on November 18 to celebrate Anderson, a former Andover resident who was visiting for the special occasion.
She was surrounded by friends, colleagues, and the families of former students.
Brian Latina, a board member whose son was one of Anderson’s students, was excited to be at the event to honor the woman who is “family to me.”
Latina’s son Matthew, 37, went to school. Over the years, Latina remained involved even after his son aged in part due to his special relationship with Anderson.
He remembered Matthew being in the hospital once and Anderson being one of his first calls. With her previous nursing experience, she was a calming voice in the stressful situation, said Latina.
Similarly, Steve and Kristin Smith built a strong bond with Anderson and the school staff when their son visited Avery.
“His teachers and class assistants gave us people to lean on who really made us feel like we understood what we were struggling with and helped us in school when we could only sense that we didn’t want to let him out of our sight . That trust was hard to give, but it was really well deserved, ”said Smith.
“The PCCD that Veryl built is a wonderful facility and an amazing collection of people bringing their vision to life.”
Renaming the day’s program will help the school reach new heights, said Chris Hunt, executive director.
“The renaming allows us to honor our history and past while moving into the future,” said Hunt. “We stand on the shoulders of others who brought us here.”
The school is having a particularly tough time with branding, but getting the program recognized as an Anderson School will allow people to take more pride and ownership over it, Hunt said. The center will also be able to expand its services further, he said.
“PCCD would never have become the leading provider of special education without Veryl’s vision, energy and commitment,” said Hunt. “She has dedicated her entire career to developing programs that maximize the opportunities for children with disabilities and special needs to achieve their full potential. Naming the school in her honor establishes us on our history, officially recognizes the inspiration it has provided and the lasting foundation it has laid for our programs. “