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Kuperstein caps off CAP program with graduation ceremony

Postgraduate+Alec+Kuperstein+smiles+with+Principal+Sean+Bevan+and+his+diploma+during+his+graduation+on+Friday%2C+April+5%2C+2024.
Betsy Bertonazzi
Postgraduate Alec Kuperstein smiles with Principal Sean Bevan and his diploma during his graduation on Friday, April 5, 2024.

Teary eyes and smiles filled the room in celebration of postgraduate Alec Kuperstein’s graduation from the Community Access Program (CAP) on April 5.

Kuperstein’s educational career in the Northborough-Southborough school district ended with a four-year run in the CAP program.  Kuperstein enjoys socializing with others in class, watching baseball games and going out to eat with friends. The ceremony, which began with the presentation of Kuperstein’s diploma and a slideshow reflecting on his life thus far, was a joyous occasion for attendees.

“It means everything to me to see his graduation,” Kuperstein’s mother Lynne Kuperstein said. “He’s gone through all of this district and CAP, so it’s amazing to see his journey.”

The CAP program prepared Kuperstein for adult life, and he made massive developments throughout his time both in high school and CAP.

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“Over the time I’ve known Alec here, he’s become so much more comfortable communicating,” special education teacher Caitlin Hynes said. “He has grown socially, he loves interacting with people, he loves talking to you and making jokes; he is really funny and he just has a great sense of humor that’s developed over time.”

While recognizing how much Kuperstein has grown, Hynes anticipates she won’t find saying goodbye easy.

It means everything to me to see his graduation. He’s gone through all of this district and CAP, so it’s amazing to see his journey.

— Postgraduate Alec Kuperstein’s mother Lynne Kuperstein

“It is very bittersweet,” Hynes said. “I have had Alec now for over five years including when he was in ninth to 12th [grade]. I have gotten to know him really well, I’ve seen him grow so much over the years and learn a lot and I am happy he’s ready to move on but sad for us.”

Kuperstein’s other teachers, such as special education teacher Lisa Pagan, reflect a similar sentiment.

“He’s made so much progress in every single way since I met him freshman year, but we’re going to miss him more than anything,” Pagan said. “His questions all day, his friendly face and his amazing smile. It just won’t be the same without him.”

Kuperstein made many friends during his time at Algonquin, including a close connection with his buddy from the Best Buddies program, junior Lindsey Brown.

“Being and continuing to be Alec’s buddy is probably the best thing to happen to me,” Brown said via text. “I am so lucky to be able to call him my friend because he’s the kindest soul I know.”

Brown has also witnessed Kuperstein’s social growth as he became more comfortable around her.

“It was hard to get a few words out of him when we first became friends, but now I can have full-on conversations with him,” Brown said via text. “It seems he has a million questions, and he’s not afraid to ask.”

Following his graduation, Kuperstein will move into a post-22-year-old program called a community-based day program similar to CAP. The program involves vocational work and volunteering in the community along with continued education for independent living skills. Pagan believes he’s ready for this next step.

“He has become a lot more flexible as a person, and he’s ready to go be independent and be a grownup,” Pagan said.

Overall, Kuperstein’s graduation was a heartwarming success, with joy, tears and laughs. When asked how he felt towards the end of the ceremony by Hynes,  Kuperstein had a simple yet endearing answer.

“Happy,” Kuperstein said.

This story was originally published on The Harbinger on April 10, 2024.