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SSD Presents Alumni Awards

Two individuals have been recognized with the first-ever Special School District (SSD) alumni awards for their commitment to helping other students succeed.

Michael Walker received the SSD Young Alumnus Award for his outstanding leadership and dedication to others with disabilities.

As a student in SSD’s Vocational Skills Program (VSP), Walker received on-the-job training in the Pharmacy Department at St. Mary’s Hospital, while also gaining expertise in technical and communication skills. Through this collaboration and his hard work, Walker not only excelled as a student, but is now excelling as a St. Mary’s employee.

Now in his third year at the hospital, Walker’s co-workers in the Pharmacy Department say they appreciate his work ethic, humility and sense of humor. Walker’s supervisor describes him as “simply one of the best employees with whom I have had the pleasure to work.”

Walker’s strong commitment to supporting and encouraging other students to reach their goal of establishing a career has led to his serving as a mentor to an SSD VSP student currently at St. Mary’s.

“Michael embodies the stewardship that SSD hopes to see in its graduates,” said SSD Superintendent Don Bohannon. “He’s a tremendous ambassador for the District.”

The second alumnus award was presented to Derrion Henderson. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award for his commitment to students by sharing his expertise, time, and talent to further their goals.

Henderson was a student at South Technical High School before transferring to North Technical High School during his junior year. After graduating from North Tech in 2010, Henderson began post-secondary studies at Harris Stowe where he made the Dean’s list while pursuing a journalism degree. He later transferred to Southeast Missouri State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism.

In 2015, Henderson was awarded a paid internship with KTVI/KPLR and was subsequently hired by KFVS in Cape Girardeau. Upon returning to St. Louis, he officially joined the KTVI/KPLR team as a broadcast reporter.

Henderson has generously donated his time preparing North Tech students for the Constitution Project, a highly competitive tournament of schools sponsored by the Missouri Supreme Court. He coaches students about gathering facts and developing stories at crime scenes, and has mentored them regarding press conference protocols with law enforcement officials.

Henderson also has agreed to be the keynote speaker at the 2018 North Tech graduation. Only seven years following his graduation, he will be addressing students who hope to follow in his footsteps.

Walker received his award at a ceremony on Nov. 30 at St. Mary’s. Henderson was honored at an SSD Board of Education meeting on Dec. 12.

Going forward, the two alumni awards will be presented annually.


Published December 2017

michael walker award presentationMichael Walker receives the SSD Young Alumnnus Award

derrion henderson award presentationDerrion Henderson receives the Distinguished Alumnus Award


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Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD) is a leader in providing special education services to students with disabilities and also provides a wide range of career and technical education programs.
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