Mario is a fun loving, kindhearted and loving member of the Class of 2018! He loves music, movies and watching sports!
At age 4, Mario was diagnosed with Autism. He immediately received wrap-around services. He entered kindergarten at St Colman in the St Anthony’s School Program. Mario has hyperlexia, which is a syndrome that is characterized by a child’s precocious ability to read, far above what would be expected at his age. In Pre-School & Kindergarten, part of the daily routine was Mario reading the storybook during circle time! The other students were amazed at him & would talk about it at their dinner tables. Mario would also amaze people at the grocery store by reading signs out loud. His older sister, Melissa also attended St Colman. In 3rd grade, he played Instructional Basketball at St Colman.
At the end of Mario’s 3rd-grade year, St Colman closed their doors and the St Anthony’s Program was moved to St Angela Merici, in White Oak. Mario’s sister switched to public school at this time. It was a bit stressful for Mario’s mom because big sister was always there to keep an eye on him. Plus, change can be stressful for a child with Autism.
The initial reaction to “special education” being in St Angela Merici was not well received by the “typical” parents. Thru love, tears, prayers, and perseverance, we were able to change a few hearts. At the first birthday party that Mario was invited to, he was treated like a rock star when he walked in! Parents introduced themselves and would say “We’ve heard all about Mario!”
Mario attended high school at Serra Catholic, where he joined the Choir and Bowling Team. He participated in 3 school musicals, went to 3 proms, and 3 Christmas dances. Mario was also active in the St Robert’s Youth Group. He has spent the past 3 summers working full time in the Parkside Café at Kennywood. His supervisors compliment his work ethic.
Currently, Mario is a post-secondary student at Duquesne University. He enjoys the Best Buddies Program and working at the different job sites.
Mario is a blessing to everyone who meets him. It is easy to see that his heart is made of gold! God gave us a wonderful example of unconditional love!