On May 21, more than 80 Kradwell School graduates, family members, current and former faculty members and friends celebrated 50 years of success. I want to thank all of you for recognizing this milestone. In addition, we raised dollars to fund scholarships and support our arts program. Your generosity truly is a life changing gift for so many in our community.
Kradwell continues to be a “hidden gem”, tucked away off the Menomonee River Parkway in Wauwatosa. Yet I’m amazed at how we continually change the lives of so many in our community.
When a child comes to Kradwell, they come to us as “failures”— people call them failures. As a private school dedicated to students failing in the traditional school setting, this is something we see and hear all the time, but we know it isn’t true. During the past 38 years of my involvement as a teacher and now principal, many families who find their way to Kradwell have lost sight of the future and are struggling to save their child. When our leaders and I meet with families, our goal is to expose the light at the end of the tunnel and start laying the groundwork for success.
That’s where Kradwell makes a difference. Our “day student” approach for 110 middle and high school students, offers small class rooms and individualized programs tailored to the academic and behavioral needs of the student. I can’t say enough about our dedicated and passionate teachers, who transform lives daily by empowering students while fostering a safe and inclusive environment. As a result, our students leave Kradwell with confidence, skills to overcome impediments to success and develop strategies to leverage those skills. Some return to traditional school settings. Some graduate from our program with greater opportunities ahead. And for so many, this is a second chance.
Last week, Kradwell alumna Lynn Johnson (Class of 1974) shared her story of overcoming depression, thoughts of suicide and highlighted the feeling of acceptance and kindness shown by Kradwell teachers and peers. She attributed this environment to helping her heal, grow and to becoming an advocate that led her into her profession as a counselor. Her experiences at Kradwell resonated with me and our faculty and staff.
And Lynn is just one of many people whose lives were changed by Kradwell. And while we continue to see success, the reality is that the need for our program continues to grow.
Thank you for your support to help transform more lives and give hope that can give more children a second chance.