The Andover Townsman
---- — Melmark New England, one of the state’s leading schools for autistic students, celebrated its 15th anniversary at its Andover campus on Wednesday, June 12.
The event was an opportunity for the school’s three founding leaders — vice president Peter Troy, chief clinical officer Frank Bird and executive director Rita Gardner — to acknowledge the private school’s achievements.
The trio worked together in 1998 to get the school started while sitting on a floor in an industrial park in Woburn with their laptops and a dream.
Founded as a service division of Melmark Inc. of Berwyn, Penn., the New England arm was developed to meet the educational, rehabilitative and vocational needs of students with complex and challenging needs — specifically students with autism-spectrum disorders, acquired brain injury, neurodevelopmental disorders, dual diagnosis and severe challenging behaviors.
Today, Melmark New England serves 100 students at the Andover campus at 461 River Road. Its goal is to help all of its students have a meaningful life and attain the highest possible level of personal growth and achievement, its executives say.
More than 150 guests joined with the Melmark New England administration for last week’s anniversary celebration. The event honored the hard work and achievements of Melmark students, staff, families and philanthropic supporters.
Lauren Beckham Falcone of WROR’s Loren & Wally morning show served as emcee, and there was a cocktail hour as well as a video and awards presentation. Among the awards presented was a Leadership Award to Tim and Angela Alex of Andover. Teamster Union Local 25 and the Yawkey Foundation were also singled out. For more about Melmark New England, call 978-654-4300 or visit www.melmarkme.org for more.