On Friday, June 19th, JCCA celebrated the high school graduates from the Mount Pleasant Cottage School (MPCS) and Edenwald. Most of the amazing young people live on the Pleasantville campus. They have all faced many challenges. Some needed extra educational and learning support, while others needed counseling or emotional support. With the help of friends, family, JCCA staff, 56 young people received their high school diplomas this year.

This year’s graduation was all virtual, which meant that some grads were able to accept their diplomas in person — while maintaining social distancing—while others joined in from their phones or computers.

Teachers, counselors, other staff, and volunteers recorded videos of congratulations. “You have done something phenomenal,” smiled Ron Richter, CEO of JCCA. “Remember what everyone has instilled in you [and] know we are always here for you,” Christine Leamon, Principal of MPCS reminded them. Ms. Davidson, a teacher, was exuberant, “I love you!” she said, “I am proud of you! Hard work pays off!

Some got creative with their videos. One family shared a TikTok video they had recorded. An MPCS teacher’s dog Aladdin joined him in another video and wished all the graduates well with a woof.

The new grads were clearly proud of themselves for reaching this milestone, and for persevering, despite so many challenges. An Edenwald student, when asked if he had advice for future grads said simply, “You’re going to reach the stars, just keep pushing.”