Aiden graduates from Latham Centers with high accolades

Director of Social Services Viki Phiri’s speech

A virtual card signed by Aiden’s friends and staff

Graduations at Latham Centers are bittersweet. While our staff and students at are sad to lose an important member of the Latham family, we are incredibly proud to see the student reach his or her milestones. On April 12th, we graduated another student, Aiden F., amidst tears, applause, and anecdotes.

The graduation started as all do – a presentation of the certificate of graduation and graduation quilt donated by the Latham Quilt Ladies, and speeches. Jeff Lee, Aiden’s Teacher, said, “It was a pleasure to have you in class. I’m excited to hear all about your growth in your next program.” Taylor Burns, Assistant Director of Weekend Programming and Staffing, said, “From the first day you came to Latham, I knew you were going to make a huge impact on the staff and students at Latham Centers. Every little bit of progress you made with us, you shared with your peers. You are a selfless person. This is the next chapter in your life, and the best part is, you get to write the narrative!”

Everyone who spoke mentioned how Aiden was a kind and generous peer to his friends. Our newest student spoke about his impact: “From the minute I stepped on campus, you were such a good friend to me!”

Aiden’s Clinician, Director of Social Services Viki Phiri, delivered an especially impactful graduation speech:

Aiden, when I first knew I would be working with you a little over a year ago, I knew three things about you:

1. You were about a foot taller than me

2. You have an absolute love for baseball

3. You love horses

Fast forward to 15 months later…here’s why those three things are important and relevant to you as a person:

Baseball: You came in swinging and caring most about the power in your swing. Now you’ve learned to be patient, and that the mechanics, not the power, will get you that home run hit. As a pitcher you want your ERA to be as low as possible; during your time here you’ve succeeded in lowering yours.

Horses: You look at them and see the power behind the animal, especially one that size. But anyone who has been around horses knows the control it takes to lead such a large animal, as well as the empathy and support [horses] are able to provide.

Size: your heart is as big as you are tall. You feel things and are impacted by those around you.

Every game, every life chapter ends so more can begin, and I thank you for working hard with me, and now, like Mariano Rivera, it’s time for you to close out this one. I wish you all the best…thank you for playing for our team.

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