Knights of Columbus donate to HHS special ed program

Published 6:23 pm Thursday, March 23, 2017

A local service organization made a donation to help support a recently developed special education program at Hampton High School.

The Knights of Columbus Council No. 10743 from St. Elizabeth Catholic Church presented HHS teacher Denise Young for her Academic Behavior Intervention program on Thursday morning.

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“Her class is for children who are having extreme behavior issues,” said Terry Hubbard, Special Education Director for the Carter County School System. “We have those in Kindergarten through 12th grade.”

ABI classes focus on academics first while also addressing the behavior issues the students face, Hubbard added. The elementary schools have had an ABI program in place for several years, but this is just the second year for the ABI program at the high school level.

“Hampton hosts it, but it’s children from all over the county,” Hubbard said.

Young thanked the Knights for their donation and explained how she plans to use the funds to help the students.

“A lot of it is for the incentives program for the students, but some of it will go to our field trips,” Young said.

As part of the program to help the students begin to plan for their future career, Young takes them on community and career “exploration” trips to local businesses and organizations to allow them to see the types of careers available locally. She said many of her students will remain in the local area after graduation due to needing the support of their family.

These field trips also serve as teaching experiences regarding their behavior issues. They learn the types of skills and behaviors they need in order to maintain employment and gain independence, Young said.

“It will help them make the connection that ‘my behavior can impact the money in my pocket,’” Young said.

Young also works with the students to not only prepare them academically for the workforce but to also help them learn soft skills — such as attendance, punctuality, and working with others — they will need to succeed.

This donation by the local Knights Council is part of the group’s continuing support of special education programs in Elizabethton and Carter County.

“The Knights many years ago decided people with mental disabilities weren’t getting a fair shake, so we decided to help them,” said Tom Manning, Grand Knight of the Council No. 10743.

Helping those with mental disabilities is not just the local Council’s focus but the focus of the organization on a national and global scale. The local Council focus most of their efforts on special education programs in the schools but also supports some programs that assist adults with mental disabilities.

“We figure we can do a lot more by helping school children,” Manning said, adding that is why the group donates to the Carter County and Elizabethton City School Systems.

The local Knights hold one big fundraiser each year where they stand outside the local Walmart and collect donations from the public.

“Walmart has been very helpful in allowing us to collect for three days in front of their store,” Manning said. “We are also very appreciative of the community for donating and supporting us.”

The Knights of Columbus Council No. 10743 will hold their next fundraising event in September.