By Carolyn Orsini Nelson
Brian Hagale was fortunate to have his learning challenges diagnosed at an early age. He was only 12 years old when he left his home in Houston, Texas, and moved into the North Campus dorm at what is now our Elementary•Middle School (EMS) campus in Manchester-by-the-Sea. Before coming to Landmark, Brian had attended a day school in Texas that also specialized in working with students with learning disabilities. But that school wasn’t Landmark. “Both schools catered towards students with learning disabilities, but Landmark excelled in pretty much every category,” says Brian today, now 28 years old.
“I missed my family a lot; it was hard having my parents back in Texas.” But one of Brian’s best memories of Landmark is that he had a family here as well. Brian attended the Landmark Summer Program for two years before becoming a full time student first at the Elementary•Middle School and then the High School. “The summer helped me get better acquainted with the environment and to make a smoother transition to boarding school. And the teachers were amazing. They were my teachers and my best friends.”
Years later, Brian reflected on the people and the education he experienced at Landmark and decided to give back, making a major gift to the Landmark Matters Capital Campaign.
Supporting the EMS Middle School Classroom building project is fitting and symbolic for Brian. “I was blessed to have attended Landmark.” He recalls as a young boy often crumpling his homework in frustration. At Landmark, he never missed a homework assignment in four years. A naturally shy person, Brian didn’t enter Landmark with the confidence and communication skills he has today. “The small classes, particularly those in communication, encouraged me to speak up and share my thoughts.”
These skills and confidence brought Brian to Texas A & M where he studied business and agricultural studies. Today his interests include real estate and residential construction. He still credits the structure of Landmark as the biggest factor in his success then and now. “I became aware of time – Landmark pushed my production level beyond what it ever was or would have been. I would not be where I am today without Landmark.”
(From The Lantern Fall 2014/Winter 2015)
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