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Bright Promise staff will be missed

September 29, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

To the editor:

With all that goes on in the area, there is one place full of totally selfless people. The Jefferson County School of Bright Promise is that place.

So many schools get so much attentions for this and that. This school gets very little attention for the fantastic care, teaching and devotion they give to the special needs population, which includes my son. At the end of May, two very special teachers retired. Ruth Gregory retired after having given her all to many children during so many years. Mary Lou Zascavage retired, having done the very same thing for many students, always with a smile while she herself had raised a special needs child herself and suffered loss that no parent imagines, still with always a smile. This week brought the retirement of Mary Kay Schuetz. She, as the others, has given of herself in so many ways. In addition to being the phys ed teacher, she ran the Jefferson County Special Olympics, including making sure individuals who qualified got to make that special trip to Columbus for the Ohio State Special Olympics.

Having a child with hemophilia that resulted in a intracerebral hemorage at birth, which left him mentally retarded, made for a terrified mother. Walking through those doors 16 years ago took all the courage I had. Mary Kay, Kitty Ferguson, Susie Corso and Deborah Ramsey were the original crew that took my boy every day. These special people were the first having to deal with one fear-filled mom in addition to her special needs child. What they have done for my child and so many others is totally more than most can imagine, and always with a smile and love for what they do.

As these wonderful people retire and many will begin to follow, the entire Melko family is saddened and knows the void their leaving will leave. I walked into the School of Bright Promise 16 years ago to people I knew nothing of with my own huge trust issues. Over those years the trust issues soon faded. We realized we had developed friendships with the above named people in addition to all of the staff, including various teachers, therapists, office staff, cafeteria and principals. Ruth and Mary Lou, you are terribly missed. Mary Kay, you have been in Michael's life from the moment he walked in and he is trying hard to process why "people retire." You were his teacher, and you leave as a friend of our family. To the School of Bright Promise, thank you for each of you who do so much for so many children, what a difference you make. For the retirees, you are and will be greatly missed but we thank you and wish you the best, from a grateful family, the Melkos.

Beth Melko


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