June 5, 2023 by HCDE Communications
Achievements, both small and large, are emotional milestones at ABS West, a school for students with behavioral challenges and intellectual disabilities. Last Friday was the big one, graduation day.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for my whole life,” said Cheyenne Craig, who is on the autism spectrum and has been at the school for five years. “The experience I’ve had here was just amazing. Better than any school I’ve been to. They made me feel welcome and like I belong here. My teachers have helped me through challenges that I have overcome.”
At ABS West, Craig is known as someone who loves to help others and takes advice to heart.
“If there’s a title for a classroom leader, she would be it. She’s come a long way,” said educational aide Michael Rowe. “I think the love she gets here gave her a chance to evaluate herself and implement some of the things we use in the classroom. She’s a prime example that this school does work.”
Stacie Craig, Cheyenne’s adoptive mother who lives in another city, says the school has given her daughter a second chance.
“Every time she called, she had something good to say about Dr. Keys and her teachers,” she said. “We were very happy to come and be with her on her graduation and see how far she’s come because she’s made a world of changes in her life.”
For Principal Victor Keys, Ed.D., the occasion marked the end of the school year and his time as part of the Harris County Department of Education team.
“This is my 15th graduation ceremony as the principal of ABS West,” said Keys. “In my opinion, this has been the best one, and I’ve seen quite a few of them over the years. I’ve seen a lot of improvement with these young people. They’ve come a long way.”
Seven Academic and Behavior School West seniors graduated, and eighteen other students celebrated their promotions to middle and high school before their teachers and loved ones.
To learn more about HCDE’s Special Schools, visit hcde-texas.org/special-schools.