Vincent Mallon’s patience, kindness and compassion have touched the lives of thousands of students with disabilities. Mallon came to The Y.A.L.E School in 1980 when the school had only two campus locations. He joined the staff as the school’s first wood shop teacher. As the expectations for positive outcomes for students with disabilities grew, Mallon kept pace by expanding services and programs to help them get ready for life after graduation.
Mallon is credited with building Y.A.L.E.’s comprehensive vocational and school-to-work program from the ground up. Working along with The Y.A.L.E. School’s founders, Mallon established the school’s Industrial Arts programs, the School-to-Work program, the Transition Curriculum and Mobility programs. He worked with Fred Gruber and Margaret Chapman in the development of the post secondary transition curriculum, which eventually developed into the current Standard Nine Transition Concentration. Now, part of his work includes supporting students at job sites and internship settings in the community. Mallon’s program helps students gain real world job experiences, and build the skills needed for employment.
Fred Clark, Critical Thinking teacher at Y.A.L.E.’s Cherry Hill campus has had the privilege of being one of the few people to work under Mallon in the wood shop class. “Not only did he teach me the tricks of the trade, but he also taught me what it means to be patient and supportive,” said Clark.
“When I first came here, Vince taught me how to meet the individual needs of every student with compassion and understanding. I have never met a kinder, more gentle or compassionate individual and I’m a better person for having had him in my life,” added Scott Reader, who currently teaches Y.A.L.E.’s Industrial Arts classes.
Mallon’s contribution to the students of Y.A.L.E. School extends well beyond the classroom. His passion for music has inspired generations of students who shared his love of playing and performing. Mallon continues to organize and advise Y.A.L.E.’s annual Talent Show, a multi-day extravaganza of students and staff members performing and celebrating original and beloved musical pieces that has recently expanded to include comedy, dance and puppetry.
“Vince was ‘instrumental’ in the creation of the talent show which would never have gotten off the ground without his perseverance and determination. The kids absolutely love it,” said Mark Stermer, Cherry Hill’s Visual Arts teacher and a co-worker of Mallon’s for 23 years.
During Y.A.L.E. School Cherry Hill’s Extended School Year summer program, Mallon teaches a Music Appreciation course designed to inform and entertain students with the history of music. Mallon also coaches and mentors individual student musicians, arranging field trips to local recording studios and community performances. Always encouraging and patient, he has helped countless students express themselves through music while building confidence and self esteem.
“Vince is an architect of inspiration,” said Margaret Chapman, coordinator of Y.A.L.E. Cherry Hill’s Standard 9 Transition Concentration. “He sees what’s needed to fill a space in a young person’s life and builds opportunities to give that student a foundation for the future.”
After 33 years with Y.A.L.E., Mallon will retire at the end of June. He reflects back on the work he has done. “I am lucky to have had the opportunity to participate in the development and implementation of vocational programs that have improved students’ performance in workplace settings. It has been professionally rewarding to work with students in ways that make a lasting difference in their lives.”
“Despite Vince’s humility, we all see his unmistakable style in everything he’s accomplished over the years. His creative solutions and innovative ideas led to solid programs that in many ways define the Y.A.L.E. School experience for students in every graduating class,” Chapman added.