Reader Contributed Schools

West Hartford’s Ben Bronz Academy Celebrates Commencement

Ben Bronz Academy graduates. Photo credit: Jessica Hill (courtesy photo)

Graduation from the West Hartford school was held on June 14.


Five students graduated from Ben Bronz Academy, in West Hartford, Wednesday, June 14, inside the auditorium at Northwest Catholic High School.

Among the crowd of about 200 supporters were schoolmates, teachers, parents, family members, and board members of the school – all of whom had a share in the graduates’ journey from struggling student due to learning differences to high school grad.

Graduates are headed to universities, community colleges, and trade schools.

“In elementary school, I had a hard time learning anything due to my learning disabilities,” said James Guyer. “Thanks to Ben Bronz Academy, I was able to overcome the challenges I faced early on,” he said. Guyer, who lives in Deep River, will attend Middlesex Community College.

Frank Spirito. Photo credit: Jessica Hill (courtesy photo)

Frank Spirito, who is headed to the University of Connecticut, thanked the teachers and staff at Ben Bronz for helping him make gains academically and socially. Spirito thanked his parents for their devotion to drive him and his brother between school and their hometown of Bristol, where both were standout baseball players for Bristol Central this season.

Jon Ihasz, of Meriden, also mentioned the commute to Ben Bronz – thanking his friends and family for repairing his truck so it would make the ride and for regular trips to Taco Bell after school. Ihasz said it was worth the daily trip. “BBA has continued to help me hone my skills to begin my career. I’ll never forget the memories that I made here,” he said.

James Hamel, of Berlin, thanked the district’s Director of Special Education Linda Holian for supporting him throughout his BBA career and always listening to him.

Astrid Hughes, of Simsbury, was the final graduate to speak. Hughes thanked the staff of BBA and family members.

Board of Directors Chair Richard Rubenstein and Ben Bronz Executive Director Gail Lanza congratulated the Class of 2023 as well as about a dozen students who wilt transition from BBA back to schools in their home districts in the fall.

Board of Directors Chair Richard Rubenstein (left), James Hamel, and Astrid Hughes. Photo credit: Jessica Hill (courtesy photo)

Ben Bronz Academy is a state-approved private special education school in West Hartford servicing students grades 2-12 from around the state who struggle to learn. The students have been identified with various learning disabilities, including: Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Executive Function Difficulties, ADHD, CAPD, and ASD (mild/Asperger’s).

Their goal is to help students correct their functional weaknesses and to develop strong, spontaneous thinking habits that build self-confidence, foster curiosity and an enthusiasm for learning. BBA was founded in 1985 with the belief that every student deserves to succeed. Since then, BBA has prepared hundreds of students for academic success. Their individualized learning program enables students to master learning skills, achieve academic success and enhance self-confidence.

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