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Boys & Girls Village Celebrates 2015 Graduation and Awards Ceremony


Boys & Girls Village (BGV) recently honored the achievements of graduating students at a ceremony held on June 19 at its Milford campus. The celebration recognized students who will be advancing to new programs and higher grade levels, as well as students whose progress has led to them continuing their studies at schools in their communities.

Jon Oddo, BGV's Vice President of Education and Vocational Services, welcomed attendees with a heartfelt opening address. BGV Board Chair Carol Smith Harker addressed attendees, offering congratulations and good luck wishes. Following their welcome and the Pledge of Allegiance, students from Ms. Maria Steele's music class performed for the audience. Of the 79 students attending the Charles F. Hayden School, twelve graduated at this ceremony, and seven students advanced within the school to the high school level. In attendance were family members, friends, teachers, and BGV staff. Teachers presented awards and special recognition to each of their students, with a wide range of accolades for those who excelled in subject areas.

Steven M. Kant, M.D., BGV's President and CEO, addressed the attendees, congratulating them on their progress and accomplishments. He also introduced former BGV student, Josh Alexander, who served as the graduation's keynote speaker. Mr. Alexander candidly shared how he overcame serious challenges since becoming a BGV student as a six-year old.

Now a top technician for a national cable company, Mr. Alexander highlighted his progress throughout the years. "Everything happens for a reason," he said. "Never give up. The BGV programs taught me that there are people all around who love me unconditionally." He encouraged attendees to, "choose to make yourself better," and he shared how he learned to manage his anger and channel it into positive behaviors.

Lead Administrative Assistant Maureen S. L. Piccolo presented the H. Gerald Piccolo Memorial Award, given to students who show they keep on trying, no matter what obstacles come their way, and keep on smiling…just because. Following the conclusion of the graduation ceremony, members of the staff, faculty and Board of Directors served an indoor buffet for students and their families.

For 73 years, Boys & Girls Village, Inc. has been one of Connecticut's leading providers of behavioral health, educational and permanency planning services for at-risk youth and their families. Since its founding, Boys & Girls Village has touched the lives of thousands of children and families from 50 different Connecticut communities, providing a wide range of family-centered services and evidenced-based treatment approaches that help children heal, learn and grow. Learn more at

Former BGV student Josh Alexander delivering the keynote address.

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