KRISTA MARIE STONUM and Vincent E. Fuller Jr. walk down the aisle together following graduation ceremonies at Happy Hearts School in Kingsville Township.


Staff Writer

KINGSVILLE TOWNSHIP - - The bonds students build during a high school career span three to four years, but those forged at Happy Hearts are much longer.

Two students, Vincent E. Fuller Jr. and Krista Marie Stonum, made the walk down the aisle Tuesday night to hear their accomplishments honored and receive their diplomas.

Kenneth J. Schmiesing, Happy Hearts' director of educational services, said he was talking with another graduate, Christina E. Mongell, today about the length of time she has spent at the school. Mongell is going to receive her diploma at the Geneva High School ceremonies on Sunday.

Schmiesing said the students often come to Happy Hearts when they are a couple of weeks old and stay until they are 21 years old.

"It is actually their entire life spent at Happy Hearts," he said.

School superintendent Anne M. Zeitler reiterated how important the night would be for the students, before handing over the program to parent and board member Kristene DeCaro.

DeCaro detailed her experience as the parent of a child with cerebral palsy.

"Door one was sign papers and make her a ward of the state, and door two was to take her back home but possibly destroy our older daughter and our marriage. We chose to bring her home," DeCaro said.

That was in 1976, and DeCaro is still working to make Happy Hearts a special place. She talked of her daughter's first experiences at the school and how she grew.

"There was learning, friends, dedication and love," she said.

DeCaro went on to acknowledge all of the school employees, including janitors, teachers, aides and bus drivers.

"I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart," she said.

Schmiesing said Fuller and Stonum plan to move on to Ash/ Craft Industries.

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