Father Leahy and the administration at Boston College have gotten a lot of press lately related to the possible closure of the Campus School. Now that BC has made the decision to keep the Campus School on campus, it’s time for us, as parents of a Campus School student, to acknowledge that decision and express our appreciation. I know we speak for all the Campus School families when we say thank you. We cannot tell you how much this means to us.
Our 6-year-old son, Jack, has been a student at the BC Campus School for three years. Jack has Down syndrome, epilepsy, severe developmental delays, and many other complex medical issues. He is also a sweet, gentle, adored little boy who loves his school more than anything. Since starting at the Campus School, Jack has thrived and grown and become a valued member of a community. The exceptional teachers, therapists, staff, and volunteers recognize Jack’s value and potential and make it their mission to teach and support him in a positive, encouraging environment. Jack lights up when he’s at the Campus School. The Campus School is the best thing in Jack’s life, and because Jack is the center of our family, the Campus School is the best thing in our lives.
In the past three years since Jack started attending the Campus School, our family has made so many wonderful memories at BC. We’ve attended a BC football game, walked around the reservoir with students and staff at the Fun Run, Walk & Roll, celebrated Jack’s birthday with Baldwin, and cheered for the Campus School volunteers running the marathon. Jack has taken the ice with the hockey team, shopped at the campus bookstore, interacted with student athletes on Spirit Day, enjoyed performances by BC music, dance, and theater groups, and gone trick-or-treating through the hallways of Campion Hall. Jack’s life is fuller and richer because of his experiences at the Campus School and at BC in general.
When we heard that the Campus School might close, we were devastated, confused, and scared. Like so many other parents, volunteers, students, alumni, and staff, we wrote a letter to the committee deciding the fate of the Campus School expressing our concerns. In our letter, we challenged BC to do the right thing and to “preserve the magic of the Campus School.” We are so relieved, impressed, and grateful that BC has decided to do just that. We recognize that BC is making sacrifices to keep the Campus School on campus. While we firmly believe the value of the Campus School outweighs those sacrifices, we don’t take them for granted. As the parents of one of the younger students at the Campus School, we hope this collaboration between BC and the Campus School continues for years to come. We’d be delighted if Jack could attend the Campus School until he graduates at age 22.
We also want to say thank you for outpouring of support we’ve witnessed from the Campus School volunteers and so many other BC students, alumni, and faculty members. To be honest, being the parents of a child with severe special needs can be isolating. More than ever, we feel like we are a part of a supportive and loving community. Before Jack started school, it was our hope that he could make a friend or two. Now, three years later, Jack has hundreds of friends-classmates, yes, but also two wonderful buddies who hang out with him weekly, hundreds of volunteers, and so many other BC students and staff members.
As we expressed to the decision-makers in our letter, “Having Jack in our lives has changed us for the better. Jack has taught us invaluable lessons about compassion, sensitivity, and acceptance, and the true meaning of value, potential and success. In making this decision, you have an opportunity to demonstrate what BC values.”
Thank you, BC, for demonstrating what you value.
Ben and Robyn Dollar
Parents of Campus School student