At the age of three, Dominic Notaro was diagnosed with Autism. During the early years of his diagnosis, his family sought out the right program and support network for him. He bounced a bit from program to program seeking a fit that best suited his needs. He was originally told that his educational goal could be a CDOS credential, which is recognized by the NYS Board of Regents as a certificate that states that a student has the knowledge and ability necessary for entry level employment. That wouldn’t be enough for Dominic. He wanted a high school diploma, just like his older brothers.
When he finally reached high school age, Dominic’s struggles proved more difficult and it was apparent that he needed more support than he had received in previous years. Together, with the assistance of the RCS District, a search was conducted to find the right environment for him.
Dominic was at the end of his tenth grade year when they finally found a program that gave his family hope. Reach Academy, based in White Plains, N.Y. was that place. A school for kids with Autism where educational programs are designed to deliver a safe and supportive structure for youngsters who are in need of intensive education and support.
In 2016, Dominic attended his first classes at Reach Academy. He was almost at the end of his tenth grade year and he had one goal, which was to prove that he wasn’t going to be defined by his diagnoses and that he wanted a high school diploma. Reach Academy created a comprehensive plan and Dominic would have to start high school as a freshman. After already doing two years of high school, he had to go back to the very beginning. He needed the time for reviewing material he hadn’t been exposed to prior. He needed to take NYS Regents exams which he had never completed before. Taking a step backwards, to move forward in achieving his goals.
Dominic not only excelled in his classes at Reach Academy, he made the honor roll every quarter. He also passed the necessary Regents exams with scores that surprised his Reach Academy instructors. Dominic has managed to not only achieve a high school diploma but score high enough on the exams to earn a NYS Regents diploma. It has been said by administration/teachers that he is a leader and role model for his peers at the school. He was named Class of 2020 valedictorian at Reach Academy.
Dominic never gave up on his goals. This year, we include Dominic in our graduation celebration. Once an RCS Indian, always an RCS Indian.
Congratulations Dominic and to all of our RCS graduates!