Potential Development’s 2020 senior class celebrates graduation at Fellows Riverside Gardens

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School leaders said finding a way to honor the grads during COVID-19 was a challenge

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The 2020 senior class of Potential Development graduates got a special send-off.

The school in Youngstown serves students with autism.

The 12 students had their graduation ceremony at Fellows Riverside Gardens Thursday morning.

Families of the seniors and a few staff members attended.

School leaders said finding a way to honor the grads during COVID-19 was a challenge. They couldn’t have a traditional graduation, but they wanted to celebrate these students, who go to school 11 months out of the year.

“We have students that come across Mahoning, Trumbull County, so it wasn’t like a local district where we can just drive around one little town or city to recognize students. So we were looking for an outdoor, safe venue and the park is just a beautiful place to have the celebration,” said Paul Garchar, executive director.

Some of the students plan to attend community college and a few others have jobs lined up.

For the coming school year, Potential Development’s students will be back in the classroom. Garchar said small class sizes make social distancing manageable.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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