Marcus Thomeer, PhD, co-director of the Institute for Autism Research (IAR) and Jim Donnelly, PhD, director of measurement and statistics for the Institute, were presented with a $1,087 donation for the IAR from a team of students from Clarence Middle School, Clarence High School and Nardin Academy elementary.
The students, as part of a Destination Imagination (DI) challenge, raised the money by selling raffle tickets for an electric guitar signed by Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls, Mary Ramsey of 10,000 Maniacs, and songwriter/singer Cassandra Kubinski. Beth Cornell, librarian at Clarence High School, was the lucky winner!
Destination Imagination is an extra-curricular club where students – elementary through high school – compete with other teams of students in themed challenges. The DI mission is to inspire and equip students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders. The Clarence team – Clarence High School sophomores Jacob Laczkowski and Gayle Petri; Clarence Middle School students Julius Merlino and AJ Petri; and Nardin Academy Elementary student Sophia Semo – chose a charity-themed challenge. They were charged with identifying a need in the community and supporting that need.
“The Institute for Autism Research was an easy choice for our team,” said Gayle Petri. Gayle’s brother, AJ, participated in programming offered by the IAR, so the group was familiar with the success of its programs. “We wanted to raise money so that others could participate and benefit from what the IAR offers,” she added.
“We are extremely grateful for the generous donation to the IAR,” said Thomeer. “We will use the donation to fund our research and treatment programs for children with autism spectrum disorder.”
Pictured above left to right: Gayle Petri, Sophia Semo, Julius Merlino and AJ Petri, Dr. Thomeer and Dr. Donnelly pose with the signed guitar.
Submitted by: Public Relations