It’s a long way from Mixco, Guatemala to White Oak, Pennsylvania. Yet, that’s the path Hugo Roberto Vaquez Martinez took when he was adopted and became Robert Michael Anitori. Robbie came to the United States on January 12, 2006, at the age of 10 ½ months. He was diagnosed with developmental delays and was enrolled in DART preschool at age 3.
There was never any question that Robbie was going to attend Catholic school. In 2010, he was enrolled at St. Angela Merici Catholic School (now Mary of Nazareth Catholic School) for Kindergarten. After only one month, his Kindergarten teacher was recommending that Robbie take another year of Kindergarten to help him catch up academically and with maturity. Even with that extra year, Robbie’s academic progress lagged behind those of his classmates.
Robbie was tested and evaluated by the McKeesport Area School District in 2015 and diagnosed with learning disabilities in reading and math. When a special education program was recommended during the summer before 4th grade, the St. Anthony Program was a natural fit. Mary of Nazareth already housed a St. Anthony Resource Room, so his transition was relatively seamless. Plus, Robbie had been fortunate to have been selected as a peer at the Inclusive Games the previous two years.
Now ready to begin the 7th grade, Robbie is making wonderful strides thanks to the caring and dedicated teachers and professionals in the St. Anthony Schools Program. He plays soccer on the Mary of Nazareth School team and plays flute in the school concert band. He is especially proud to be a part of the Mass Band, playing every Friday at the school Mass. His future, which includes attending Serra Catholic High School, is full of exciting possibilities.