May Institute Students Celebrate Traditional Rite of Passage


Randolph, Mass. — Every teenager dreams of attending their school prom. Every parent looks on with anticipation as they watch their child prepare for this special event. This traditional rite of passage took on added significance this weekend for parents, teachers, and 60 students from the May Center for Child Development. The special education school held its very first prom on the Institute’s Randolph campus.

Gina Tacconi-Moore, Assistant Residential Director for the May Center said, “One of the major goals for our program is to give students the opportunity to engage in typical social experiences like those of their peers. We wanted to make possible something that many parents did not think was possible for a child living with autism or another developmental disability.”

“This occasion is very touching for us and our son. My daughter was supposed to work this weekend and she asked for some time off because she never thought she would see her brother go to a prom,” said parent Jo-Ann Branzetti.

Parent Terri Connors echoes that sentiment and said, “Each step my daughter takes into this “typical” world gives her one more inch of awareness. I can’t tell you how much it means to our family that she has been given this opportunity.”

In the school’s gym, decorated in the theme of “On the Boardwalk,” a professional deejay spun hits by some of the students’ favorite artists, including Miley Cyrus, Maroon Five, and the Beach Boys. A majority of the young men wore tuxedoes, while others opted for the more casual shirt and tie. Each of the young women wore a dress to complement her personality, and all the students received their own corsage or boutonnière. Staff and parents contributed snacks and refreshments.

It was a very special Saturday, and special memories were made.


About May Institute

May Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides educational, rehabilitative, and behavioral healthcare services to individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other developmental disabilities, brain injury, mental illness, and behavioral health needs. The Institute also provides training and consultation services to professionals, organizations, and public school systems.

Since its founding over 50 years ago, May Institute has evolved into an award-winning national network that serves over 25,000 individuals and their families annually. The Institute operates four special education schools for children with ASD and other developmental disabilities, and a school for children and adolescents with brain injury. An active center of research and training, the Institute maintains affiliations with more than 55 universities, hospitals, and human service agencies worldwide.

For more information about May Institute, visit

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