The walls of the classroom look emptier than they looked a month ago, and a few remnants of the presence of students remain: a pencil here or a sticky note there containing a past thought.

As the last student leaves the room where teachers have built a community, many emotions can fill the unoccupied space. The end of the school year invites an opportunity to pause and celebrate successes. But, more importantly, we look forward to continuing to empower students with disabilities in St. Louis County in the months and years ahead.

There is an assortment of emotions in the quiet, empty space of a classroom at the end of every school year. There are feelings of uncertainty, excitement, exhaustion, joy, anxiety, peace, and relief.

Together, the teachers, parents and guardians, administrators, plus friends and donors of the Special Education Foundation have worked to make a difference in the lives of the students we seek to serve as part of SEF’s mission.

From the beginning of the school year, we traveled across St. Louis County and attended countless back-to-school orientation sessions to the recent days of graduations and end-of-the-year celebrations, SEF has impacted thousands of students’ lives over the past nine months.

Whether it’s providing hearing aids or helping a student communicate with an AAC device, giving kids the opportunity to build gingerbread houses through a Teacher Mini-Grant, or participating in a theater performance, SEF is committed to empowering students to succeed in and beyond the classroom.

Over the past month, we’ve been fortunate to celebrate the graduation of this year’s Fred Saigh Leadership Academy class and attend a Picnic in the Park with VSP students. And last week, we met our exceptional students receiving SEF scholarships to continue their education in colleges across the country from Atlanta to Rexburg, Idaho, and points in between.

Through our critical needs program, we’ve partnered with the Special School District to provide food baskets for students and their families during school breaks in the winter and spring. And as the summer begins, dozens of students are heading to camps in the coming weeks thanks to SEF’s Kid-to-Camp program.

Thanks to all of our partners, friends, and contributors, we’ve helped students learn new skills, make new friends, and discover new possibilities. We’ve given thousands of students hope, joy, and confidence. Your continued support has empowered them to overcome challenges and achieve their goals.

But our work is not done yet. There are still many students who need our support and encouragement.

Let’s take a moment and celebrate the end of another school year, but know that there are still many opportunities ahead to enrich the education of our students and enhance their well-being.

You’re a partner with us on this journey, and we thank you for all you do for the kids.

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