After seeing her daughter, Delilah, graduate from preschool at the Foundation for Blind Children’s Chandler campus, one mother stood up and recited a poem for parents, staff and students on Thursday.
“The crooked stem no longer mattered, no one missed the leaves, all they saw was the exquisite rose, that someone was a teacher and that rose was my daughter.”
Moved with compassion and empathy, several parents wiped away tears at the Cooperative Preschool for the Visually Impaired during the small ceremony at the campus on Warner Road near the Loop 101.
Parent Christine Knots said the growth she has seen in her son, Cameron, this year has been huge. Cameron, 5, who has been visually impaired since birth, now dresses himself, feeds himself, uses a Braille writer everyday, and started potty training earlier than expected.
“He’s so independent now,” Knotts said.
The foundation graduated nearly 40 students from its preschool program around the Valley this past week, with some students now heading to elementary schools in the Kyrene and Chandler Unified school districts.
For teacher Jean Murphy, every year graduating her students is unique.
“For some reason it’s really hard this year, the changes in the kids have been over the top,” she said, with tears filling her eyes.
Murphy said some of the changes included seeing her students walk, learn American Sign Language, improve in motor skills, and more.
“It’s just about seeing the light bulb come on and take whatever tiny little step it is,” said Murphy. “It’s always so exciting for me.”
Certificates of achievement were handed out to each student on Thursday, along with single, yellow carnations for their parents as a “thank you.”
The preschool program packs in a wide array of services to the students in five-hour days during the week. Students are exposed to music, gymnastics, pet, physical and speech therapies as well as social and cognitive development.
One of the graduates, 5-year-old Aubrey Brock, could have easily been recognized as “Miss Congeniality,” after running off to the back of the stage giggling after receiving her certificate.
Her mother, Aria, said the past year at the preschool has made Aubrey more confident and was truly a “blessing.”
“She was already a social butterfly, but I’ve just seen her bloom here and it’s been amazing.”
Foundation for Blind Children’s Chandler campus is located at 2005 N. 91st Place. For more information, visit seeitourway.org.