Student Spotlight:

Hayley Testa

Finding her voice with St. Anthony School Programs

 

When Hayley started with St. Anthony School Programs in Kindergarten nearly ten years ago, loud noises frightened her and she was very shy. Now, as an eighth grade student at St. Thomas More, Hayley has participated in the school’s talent show and even sang the National Anthem at this year’s St. Anthony Inclusive Games.

 

“Hayley has always loved singing. She’ll sing in her room and around the house,” Hayley’s mother Mindy explained. “But she caught us off guard singing at the talent show. She sang Frozen’s Let It Go, and we were so proud.”

 

When it was time for Hayley to head to kindergarten, sending her to St. Thomas More in the St. Anthony program was an easy decision for Mindy and her husband Kevin. The family values Catholic education and knew this would be the best fit for their daughter.

 

“We heard wonderful things about the program,” Kevin said. “The idea she would interact with typical kids was so appealing to us.”

 

At school, Hayley has many friends. Her classmates take her under their wings and support her, helping her succeed.

 

“Hayley has really matured over the course of her education, but the support she has received is amazing. It has given her confidence,” Mindy remarked.

 

“Her classmates are almost protective of her and always watching out for her,” Kevin added. “The teachers are one thing – we love the teachers – but the inclusiveness with the other children is just incredible.”

 

Next year, Hayley will start high school at Bishop Canevin. When asked if she was ready for the next step in her education with St. Anthony School Programs, Hayley nodded excitedly.

 

Mindy and Kevin are even looking beyond high school for Hayley, with plans to enroll her in St. Anthony’s Duquesne University program.

 

“When we started with St. Anthony, we didn’t know at the time she could go all the way to Duquesne,” Kevin said. “We’re excited for her to go there and learn the living skills they teach to see how far she can go and become independent.”

 

The girl who started school as shy and crowd sensitive, now strolls into a conversation with a complete stranger with excitement and confidence. And when asked about singing, she truly lights up.

 

“We never thought we’d see her in front of a crowd like that – the support from St. Anthony is amazing,” Mindy said.

Student at St. Anthony's

Hayley Testa