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Alumni Spotlight: Lucas’ Story  March 17, 2023

By the middle of his 8th grade year, Lucas Lewis’ parents received phone calls every day from school. Their frustration was palpable as they tried to manage the public school mainstreaming classes and advocating for their son’s learning differences. Lucas said his parents were struggling with his education since his 6th grade year, although as adoptive parents they certainly had been his champions for many years before that. 

Lucas says his town school was trying but “they could only do so much.” At this point he says he didn’t understand himself, he wasn’t able to make friends, he was overstimulated in his large 30 student sized classes and often “shut down” or “walked out.”

His parents knew this was not the way to a successful education for their child. At the end of 8th grade he was able to transfer to Waterford Country School. Within the first couple of weeks at WCS, he encountered tough love, genuine helpfulness and firm guidelines. He instantly loved time on the farm. Not necessarily because of any one animal but the work itself. He recognizes now that it brought purposeful work into his life. Lucas says “Simplicity is a calming thing in itself.” Farm chores, stacking hay bales, responsibility in caring for the animals…this became his calming place where everything wasn’t so complex and confusing.

He also found the teachers to be different than at any other school. They were addressed by first names, classrooms were less formal. They believed in him.

In his junior year of high school, Lucas had true friendships and enough confidence to become a Counselor in Training for the Summer Camp. He would understand these kids, and could relate to their personal issues….and he had the energy to run around and have a blast with them.

The next summer he was a paid Camp Counselor along with our summer staff and was there to help campers experience the excitement of the new zipline! Today, 19 year old Lucas works 40 hours a week at Jaypro and has a steady confidence and calm when speaking about his time at WCS. We are so proud of how far Lucas has come!