DERRY — Members of Pinkerton Academy's Just Like Us Club helped serve up burgers and hot dogs with an extra helping of acceptance and friendship at a year-end barbecue on May 21.
The club is one of the school's most popular, with hundreds of students participating in social and athletic activities alongside students with varying degrees of learning and physical disabilities enrolled in Pinkerton's Alternative Comprehensive Training and Work-to-Learn programs.
The students meet regularly in an effort to forge friendships and acceptance — and to help everyone feel good about themselves.
And it was also time to say goodbye to the club's longtime advisor, Mike Welch, who will be leaving his faculty position at Pinkerton after this year.
"I am going to miss the people," Welch said. "I've learned a lot (through the years)."
Pinkerton's ACT students, families and community business partners were honored in the annual "Success Night" recently. Area businesses received commendations for their involvement as program partners, offering students work possibilities and a chance to learn as much as possible about the world outside of Pinkerton's classrooms.
Employers who take on the role of business partners in the ACT/Work-to-Learn environment serve as mentors to the students as they go to the job sites as part of their Pinkerton daily rituals and learn the skills needed to make the transition from school to the outside world.