Salute to Donnelly: Special Education Teacher Was a Gift

You can expect a big crowd on Friday at the Point Shirley Association when teachers and residents gather for a party to celebrate the career of Chris Donnelly, long-time Winthrop High teacher and director of the Life Skills Program. Mr. Donnelly will be on hand as people enjoy hot dogs and hamburgers and thank him for all he has done during his distinguished career in our school system.

Mr. Donnelly created a program at the high school that became a model for all secondary schools in the education of students with special needs. His efforts in advancing the Spread the Word to End the R-Word campaign were commendatory and exemplary.

Mr. Donnelly’s day did not end when he left school each day. He was always working hard to make each student’s experience one that would be beneficial to them in the future.

He brought in other students through a Buddies program to help his students become involved in the full high school experience. The Fashion Show has become one of the signature events for the Life Skills Program. He’s helped countless students through the years and is a true hero to those students and parents whose lives he touched in such a positive way.

Perhaps it’s fitting that Chris Donnelly’s career in Winthrop will come to a close in the same year that Principal Gail Conlon and Assistant Principal Robin Kostegan are retiring. It was their support of Chris Donnelly’s efforts and their understanding of what he was trying to accomplish and the methods that he sought to implement in the local schools that helped make his program a statewide model.

We know we speak for literally thousands of students, teachers, and parents in our community in saying, “Thank you” to Chris Donnelly for all he has done in our schools over the years and wishing him well in his retirement years.

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