A Homecoming at The Glenholme School Commemorates a Lasting Legacy for Educating Special Needs Students

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A memorable family reunion commemorates Jean White Van Sinderen’s 1965 gift and influence on educational programs for students with special needs was held at The Glenholme School in Washington, Connecticut.

2015 Reunion

Jean Henry (center), the matriarch of the Van Sinderen family, and her family in front of the Glenholme building.

You have preserved Glenholme and given it even greater meaning... Most of all, we are happy that there are so many young people who continue to benefit from the magic of that special place.

The Glenholme School hosted four generations of the Van Sinderen family on Saturday, September 12, 2015. A beautiful early autumn day welcomed over 45 Van Sinderen family members to their former summer home, the estate of Adrian and Jean White Van Sinderen, which was gifted to Devereux 50 years ago to create a school for students with special needs. Some guests came from as far away as Michigan, Maine and Maryland, bringing family back together at a location that hosted some of their warmest memories.

Jean Henry, Jean White Van Sinderen’s daughter and matriarch of the family, nearing 95, was visibly moved to be back at her childhood home — Glenholme. It was indeed a very special day for her. Upon the guests’ arrival, time was spent reconnecting with generations, welcoming new babies and revisiting a special place they have held in their hearts. An outdoor tented luncheon provided more gathering and festive conversations of years gone by as well as catching up on life today. Roaming the grounds was a delightful way to top-off a lovely meal and enjoy the transformation of Glenholme from a long-ago era to its spectacular use today. Glenholme students invited guests to a performance in The Center for the Arts of song and a touch of comedy ending with a delightful conversation between the students and the Van Sinderen clan.

Jean White Van Sinderen’s life-long ambition to be philanthropic in her community made an enduring impression on the education and care of young people with special learning needs. Undoubtedly, a passion sparked by her father, Alfred Tredway White, one of the nation’s most prominent turn-of-the-twentieth-century philanthropists and social reformers.

Philanthropy is an important part of teaching character and promoting resilient youth at Glenholme. Executive Director Maryann Campbell expressed it best when she noted, “One of the many teaching elements of Glenholme is educating the students about giving and the Van Sinderen family is a wonderful example of ideal philanthropy turned into action, providing traditions and teaching moments for each child to learn from and remember in their days ahead. The commemorated gift of Glenholme is most noble.”

Sylvia Van Sinderen, granddaughter of Adrian and Jean, best summed up the day with her note, “The atmosphere that day was every bit as my grandmother always created for us and envisioned for the school. The tours were great, both for revisiting memories as well as seeing firsthand what is available to the current generation of young people at Glenholme. The capstone of the day was at the performing arts center. What a privilege for so many members of my family to share that wonderful experience with the students and some of the faculty and staff — such talent and feeling of community. We are still marveling.”

She continued, “You have preserved Glenholme and given it even greater meaning. You honor Glenholme's past, give it its present, and are ensuring its future. Most of all, we are happy that there are so many young people who continue to benefit from the magic of that special place.”

Glenholme positively impacts the lives of young people with special needs and their families from across the nation and around the globe by providing a traditional boarding school environment with all the underlying supports special needs students require to find success.

About The Glenholme School:
The Glenholme School, a center of the Devereux organization, is an independent, coeducational, special needs boarding and day school for young people with high functioning autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, OCD, Tourette's, depression, anxiety, and various learning differences. The program provides a treatment milieu designed to build competence socially and academically. Our learning environment supports and enhances the ability for young people with special needs to succeed. Devereux is a leading nonprofit behavioral health organization that supports many of the most underserved and vulnerable members of our communities. For more information about The Glenholme School and its program, visit http://www.theglenholmeschool.org/.

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Denise Watson
@GlenholmeSchool
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