On Monday, May 16, Wediko School welcomed U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R – NH) to our Windsor, NH campus. Greeted with banners, posters, and student artwork, her visit included a campus tour and information from staff and students about the importance of Wediko School’s work addressing children’s mental health.
The Senator’s visit culminated in conversing about state and national funding for children’s mental health, including the full continuum of services for children and families. The Senator engaged with Wediko’s clinical and administrative staff in a focused discussion on the financial imperatives for children with special needs.
Senator Hears Student Perspectives
Senator Ayotte first heard from three of our oldest students, who courageously volunteered to kick off the campus tour by sharing their Wediko School experience. Beaming with pride, the students spoke on their personal growth, including the newfound ability to communicate their feelings effectively and better manage their anger. Students attributed this growth to the support they receive at Wediko School, as well as the involvement of their families in the program.
Senator Ayotte spent a majority of her time in classrooms. Two students, including our recent chess tournament champion, explained photos featured on hallway bulletin boards. These students highlighted the many activities and outings available through campus residential life.
The Senator saw student artwork and visited our woodshop, remarking on our students’ pride, passion, and courage to speak so openly and enthusiastically (especially to a Senator and crowd).
Career Education at Wediko School
After hearing from students, Senator Ayotte met Kitchen Manager Estelle Michaud and Nurse Brenda to understand Wediko School’s wellness and nutrition approach. A dedicated student kitchen worker told the Senator about campus care, demonstrating the independent living skills built at Wediko School.
Senator Shares Political Perspective
In anticipation of Senator Ayotte’s visit, every classroom prepared a question, asked by the designated class spokesperson. Ms. Giove’s Intro to Biology class led with, “What are you doing to address the heroin epidemic in New Hampshire?” The Senator also fielded questions about her thoughts on the upcoming presidential election, her motivation to run for the Senate, and if she would run for president. One class even asked the Senator to relate her radio ads to applied examples of positive impact!
In answering the students’ questions, Senator Ayotte shared information on politics, citizenship, current events and updates on her work in Washington, D.C. She made time to greet every student and heard their proud tidbits about extended family members’ military service and/or other contributions to society.
Wediko School administration, teachers, staff, facilities crew, and students did an impressive job preparing for the visit and sharing their passion with Senator Ayotte. Through pre-visit preparations, decorating, questions, presentations, and clean-up, Wediko School students showed a great display of teamwork!
Special thank you to Wediko Board of Trustees Member John Hennessy for being part of this important and exciting visit.