Lufkin special needs student earn diploma

Lufkin ISD held their annual Special Education Graduation on Wednesday. Dru Withem was just one of the eight deserving seniors from Lufkin High School that walked the center stage.Dru's grandmother Laura Withem said the special education program has helped her grandson blossom and to watch him get his diploma brought tears to her eyes.

"He has learned how to take care of himself more," Laura said.

Shaikela Yarbrough's family have been looking forward and praying for this day since she was a baby. About 50 family members came out to cheer Shaikela on. Her mother Frances Yarbrough said it's been a long journey, but it is definitely well deserved.

"Of course, she required more of my attention than my other two kids, and it's kind of hard, but the teacher would come to the house and help," Frances said.

The proud mother said she is so thankful for the special needs educators.

"We focus on what the kids need academically, functional academics, job skills, self help skills, and social skills," said Educator Deidra Harrison.

Lufkin ISD Superintendent La Tonya Goffney knows firsthand how the staff cares about the students. During the ceremony she gave an emotional speech about her special needs son.

"After being here for a week, my son said his first word. The staff members went above and beyond and videotaped it for me," Goffney said.

The special needs students also have the option to participate in next week's commencement ceremony, but Goffney said many of the student choose to come to today ceremony instead.

"What it does it gives all of our students that have gone through the special education program to be acknowledge and to celebrate their success," Goffney said.

The school district said they are proud of all their special needs students, and as far as these graduates go, the sky is the limit.

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