Westwood Trail Academy Graduates First Class

Posted on 08/28/2020
Westwood Trail Academy's First Graduating Class

Westwood Trail Academy held their first graduation ceremony for four students on July 17. Families were able to attend the socially distanced event, while wearing masks, as their student walked across the stage. Dylyn Ellis, Reanna Irizarry, Jason Mauer, and Audelia Soto all received their diplomas.

“Three of the four graduates began attending the Heritage Landing Alternative Program, now Westwood Trail Academy, seven years ago when I started,” said Dr. Tony Haan, principal. “We have been through a lot together, including moving buildings, adding staff and an elementary program, and expanding the secondary program.”

Westwood Trail Academy is a special education setting that was created by the Francis Howell School District to provide a supportive educational environment for students with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. Previously known as Heritage Landing, WTA moved into their new home last summer.

“It was a very proud moment to see and recognize the growth that all four of the graduates have made over the years that I have had the opportunity to work with them and their families,” said Haan. “As I told them during graduation, each one of them encountered trials and bumps in the road of life, but have displayed great persistence and dedication to overcome multiple factors. Those characteristics are what will allow each of them to be able to move on and be successful in life.”

After the unusual end to the 2019-20 school year, the evening acted as the final semester the students never received. “I feel the night was extra special, in the fact that it allowed recognition and provided some closure to the abrupt ending of their senior year,” said Haan. “I was glad we were able to be together and highlight each of them as individuals, along with their accomplishments, with the hope they truly understand how very proud I am of each of them.”

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