Portraits of Students – ECC currently has over 105 full-time students. The children have varying exceptionalities including Autism, Down’s syndrome, Hearing Loss, Cerebral Palsy, Speech, Cognitive and a host of Neurological Processing difficulties. Here are some of their stories.
Eric S. was 8 years old when we first met him. He lives on Green Turtle Cay and had not been in school because the schools felt unable to cope with a Down’s Syndrome child. At the initial public assessment meetings we held regarding a program for children with learning disabilities, Eric’s mother related how much he wanted to go to school and how each day Eric waited with his lunch box on his steps to go to school, but to no avail. Eric began ECC as a charter member in 1998 and has been with the program since its inception. Eric commutes by ferry and bus to attend ECC and did this daily for each school day until he graduated in 2013. He continues to commute to ECC where he now works in our vocational training center, Starfish Enterprises, making utensil packets and soap products. He also helps at his parent’s restaurant in Green Turtle Cay
Brent L. had not been in school before coming to ECC in late 2003. Brent has severe Cerebral Palsy and cannot speak or walk. When he first came to school, he propelled himself along the ground on his knees. It became apparent that his physical disabilities had to be addressed before he could learn. As his family did not have the means to help him, a referral was made by ECC to the Shriners Hospital. In January 2003, Brent had surgery performed on his legs. On returning home, three months later, he was standing and walking on his own for the first time. Over the years Brent wore braces, used a walker with assistance, and has been fitted for new wheelchairs. At ECC, he has learned social and independent living skills. Brent graduated from ECC in 2013 and now attends Starfish Enterprises where he can be with his friends and learn pre-vocational skills.
Savieon D, an outgoing and articulate boy, could not walk when he came to ECC where he has attended school for over 10 years. Savieon has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to get around at school. Since attending ECC, Savieon has noticed dramatic improvements in his reading and math skills. When he’s at home, he likes to play video games and watch TV. He also enjoys spending time with his friends and giving them advice. Savieon is one of our Special Olympics athletes where he participates in the softball throw and wheelchair race. When he gets older, Savieon hopes to become a pilot so he can travel to other countries.
Emily D, a very social 13 year old girl with Down’s Syndrome, began ECC at the age of 3 as one of our youngest students. Emily adjusted well to school from the very beginning and has been one of our top students for most of the years she has attended Every Child Counts. Her favorite subject is art and she enjoys coming to school to see her friends. Emily loves to dance and sing; she is a member of the ECC choir and loves to participate in Junior Junkanoo. She is also one of our special athletes and competes in Special Olympics. At ECC, Emily has learned many social and vocational skills in addition to functional academics.
Ashwell Murray was with ECC for many years because he struggled with a learning disability. After he graduated ECC in 2012, he went on to continue his studies and was accepted into the Bahamas Defense Forces through studying and positive mindset. His lifelong dream was to become a Marine and in May 2018, Ashwell was able to fulfill his dreams and become a Marine stationed in Marsh Harbour.