LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – The Willie Ross School for the Deaf school thanked members of the community for what they do to prepare students for life after school.

Willie Ross School for the Deaf, President, and CEO Bert Carter told 22News, it takes a village, and then some.

“It takes a region is what it takes,” Carter said.

The School in Longmeadow has been helping western Massachusetts students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing since 1967.

“We work together with the students are really individualize their education, as well as their social skills development and being prepared for life when they get there,” said Carter.

About 50 community partners were honored for helping students prepare for real-world work upon graduation.

Some provide work studies for the students, teaching them all about building maintenance, retail, and auto repair.

Robert Charland, also known as Bob the Bike Man, works with some students at Lyndale Garage.

“We’ve seen many kids graduate from the program and get out there in society and get jobs,” said Charland. “Some of the kids work with me on my bike program after they leave here. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to help these kids achieve something more.”

The Willie Ross School for the Deaf will be graduating five students this year.