Henry Viscardi School, Parent
Going on a weekend trip to New York City with classmates. Attending prom. Planning for the future. For Petros, Class of 2022, his senior year at the Henry Viscardi School was one to remember. For his mother, it revealed the opportunities available to her son now and in the future.
Dianna, now president of Viscardi’s Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTA), first became aware of the Henry Viscardi School while Petros was attending public school. When her son, who has cerebral palsy, was diagnosed with dystonia that affected his mobility, she worried that their school district would not appropriately accommodate him as he progressed into middle and high school. That’s when she turned to Viscardi.
“Petros was old enough to be involved in the decision to attend the Henry Viscardi School. He has since told me that we made the right choice, which is a big statement,” Dianna said.
Petros enrolled in seventh grade. Along with access to therapies, medical supports, and high-quality academics, a major part of the decision-making process came down to ensuring that Petros could pursue a Regents diploma. In the spring of 2022, he graduated and achieved this goal—but not before being inducted into Viscardi’s National Honor Society chapter. These were a few of many recent achievements celebrated by Petros and his family.
“As shy as he can be, Petros joined the basketball team and became vice president of the student council,” Dianna said. “He made lifelong friends. It had a lot to do with him learning how to advocate for himself and feeling comfortable in his environment.”
As Petros prepares to take an automotive program and considers plans to attend community college, he also aims to participate in the Viscardi Alumni Association—a network where alumni can stay connected and share information about current issues people with disabilities face every day. Whatever he chooses to do, Dianna is confident that Petros has the tools to be successful and fulfilled.
“We can take what he’s learned and accomplished at Viscardi, along with the resources available to him, and apply it to the next chapter of his life,” she said. “It’s about possibilities. I think that’s what Viscardi represents: What is possible.”