Bishop O'Connell received a very special gift last week when Leo Alonzo and Bill Dalgetty from Porto Charities presented the school with a check for $12,500 to support Expanded Services for students with cognitive or intellectual disabilities.
The number of students receiving expanded services at Bishop O'Connell has grown from two to six in just one year and one more special education teacher has been added to the school's faculty.
"Our innovative and inclusive educational approach allows students to learn alongside their peers throughout the day and be immersed in the life of the school," said Susan Rinaldi, director of Expanded Services. "We've been able to grow thanks to the wonderful support of organizations like Porto."
"This gift impacts our entire school community," said Head of School Joseph Vorbach. "Our motto is Better Together, and our 60 peer mentors and 20 inclusive classroom teachers will be the first to tell us how the students receiving Expanded Services enrich everyone's O'Connell experience."
Alonso has been supporting programs for the disabled for more than 30 years, through his work with organizations such as Special Olympics, the International Order of Alhambra and Porto Charities. He is also a Bishop O'Connell alumnus from the class of 1969.
Porto Charities is dedicated to actively assisting people with developmental or intellectual disabilities; their community and their environment. Their mission is to raise and provide funds, resources, assistance, education, residences and overall improved quality of life for people with developmental or intellectual disabilities; and promote education, awareness, friendship and social forums among members, their families and the community.
Photo: Joining O'Connell students Adam H. and Josie B. are (left to right) Bill Dalgetty, Jennifer Bigelow (Arlington Diocese Superintendent of Catholic Schools), Carl Patton (Assistant Head of School), Joseph Vorbach, and Leo Alonso.