The Jesse Isabelle Spirit Award is to recognize a child with great passion and spirit in memory of Jesse Isabelle, whose life ended too soon in June of 2006. He was a beloved son, brother, and uncle of the Sheehan/Isabelle family. He attended Perkins School for the Blind during 2005-2006, one of the happiest years of his life. It was a time of discovering independence, creating true friendship and living his life to the fullest. Jesse touched so many lives, and one of his ways really came to life through his spirited enthusiasm for his beloved Red Sox.

Xavier Fidler selected as the 2023 Spirit Award Winner!

Each year, the Jesse Isabelle Spirit Award is given to a child at Perkins School for the Blind who exhibits great passion and spirit in memory of Jesse Isabelle. This year, the Jesse Isabelle Spirit Award recipient was Xavier Fidler.

The 2023 Jesse Isabelle Spirit Award was received by Xavier Fidler during the Lower School Graduation at Perkins School for the Blind. We are amazed by Xavier's tremendous achievements of not only graduating from the Lower School, but also exhibiting such passion and spirit each day.

It brings us great joy to present the Spirit Award each year, and we look forward to continuing this tradition to honor and remember Jesse, who enjoyed the happiest years of his life at Perkins School for the Blind. Thank you to all who make this tribute possible, and congratulations to Xavier Fidler.

Lily Burke selected as the 2022 Spirit Award Winner!

My mom and I were honored to travel to the Perkins School for the Blind on July 22 to give away the 2021 Jesse Isabelle Spirit Award! It is always nice to see everyone but especially wonderful to meet Lily Burke in person and present this incredible annual award.


A Few Thoughts About Our Visit

The more some things change (like needing to wear a mask!) the more they stay the same. Traveling to the beautiful campus is always something we look forward to this time of year.


What makes our summer visit even more special is to see how much Jesse's tree has grown. Just look how HUGE this tree is now!


And like the tree that continues to grow and bloom, it is so heart warming to see how many wonderful individuals we have honored over the years with Jesse's Spirit Award! This plaque in the Lower School Entry is a poignant reminder of how many special people call Perkins School for the Blind their home.


Doryan Lockett selected as the 2021 Spirit Award Winner!

Today was an amazing day! We traveled to the Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusetts to give away the 2021 Jesse Isabelle Spirit Award! Congratulations to Doryan as this year's recipient. Raury-Jesse Skyped from Florida to announce the winner! How cool!


Also, Jesse’s tree is HUGE!!! Thriving like crazy!!


LOVE LOVE LOVE my heart necklace Jesse made me. It is with me every time I go to Perkins School for the Blind in honor of him <3 Thanks to my mom for going with me for this very special event.


Madison Logan chosen as the 2020 Spirit Award Winner!

Madison is a spectacular individual who is extremely enthusiastic and a fierce advocate for what is right and just. She is the first to speak up with she feels that she or someone else is being mistreated or wronged. Her presence consistently inspires excitement and interesting conversation. We saw so much of our Jesse in Madison, from her cheery personality all the way to her enthusiasm in regards to sports. Congratulations, Madison!



This year's event was virtual as so many are these days but the joy and enthusiasm were just as contagious as ever. Below are a few pictures of our experience this year. A teaser picture I posted of the award with the name (artfully!) covered. The waiting room image was just so amazing and full of joy. You can tell these sweet faces are so full of life and love - just like our Jesse - I just had to share it with you!


Annikamarie selected as 2019 Spirit Award Winner!

We are so excited to announce Annikamarie as the 2019 Spirit Award Winner. This sweet soul is an excellent representative to continue the celebration of our Jesse.



One of the things we look forward to most each year is seeing how large Jesse's tree has grown. Here are side-by-side pictures to show you just how much it has come in one year. So inspirational!



Each year, we look forward to celebrating our Jesse by joining with those who also knew and loved him and to present this award to another student who embodies his spirit. Here are a few pictures of this very special day this year.

Ready for the Ceremony
The Gang is All Here!
Jesse's Favorite Stool at Wild Wiley's, Watertown, MA
Kevin and Seamus, Two Awesome Faculty at Perkins School of the Blind

Logan Gaboury Selected as 2018 Spirit Award Winner!


We were incredibly excited to be attending the Perkins School for the Blind's Lower School Graduation this year to present the 2018 Jesse Isabelle Spirit Award. This year, Tyler and Carol presented the award and it was such an honor to be able to present the award to Logan Gaboury. Logan is an incredible person who touches everyone he meets and embodies the spirit of the Perkins School for the Blind. Logan joins all of our amazing past honorees. Congratulations, Logan!

As we do each year, we visited Jesse's tree. Year after year, we are so pleased with how much the tree has grown. We think it is no coincidence that this day of celebration was once again sunny and beautiful!

We remain grateful that the Perkins School for the Blind lets us honor Jesse each year by rewarding an outstanding young person with the Spirit Award. It brings us such joy to remember and to honor our beloved Jesse in coordination with a place he loved so much.

Aidan McNeely Selected as 2017 Spirit Award Winner!

On June 13th, our family attended the Perkins School for the Blind's Lower School Graduation to present this year's Jesse Isabelle Spirit Award. Auntie Laurie presented to award this year and did a fantastic job. We were so excited to meet this year's Spirit Award winner, Aidan McNeely. He is a bright beacon to all who know him and a wonderful addition to the impressive line-up of past honorees.

While we were on campus, we also visited Jesse's tree. How exciting to see how big Jesse's tree has grown. it was a beautiful sunny day so we took the opportunity to snap a few pictures and enjoy the wonderful shade of this very special tree.

A warm heart-felt thanks to Kevin Hartigan, the head of our Spirit Award committee and tour maestro at Perkins. We appreciate your dedication and continued celebration of our beloved Jesse.

Chloe H. selected as 2016 Spirit Award Winner!

Jesse Isabelle Spirit Award 2016 Finalists

Amalia Alexandre (3 Nominations)

I would like to nominate Amalia Alexandre for the Seventh Annual Jesse Isabelle Spirit Award. I have worked with Amalia over the past school year and collaborated with her team who has worked with her for numerous years at The Lower School. Over the course of Amalia's time at The Lower School she has worked to better handle frustration and recognize her valuable and unique capabilities. At times, Amalia has shared frustration regarding her vision and hearing impairments. Reading, doing crafts, or planning a cute outfit for the day are all things she enjoys but often wishes were quicker and easier for her. However, recently she has been more willing to try technology that make these activities simpler and works collaboratively with staff to problem solve. Most notably, I have seen Amalia utilize strengths such as her sense of humor, ability to work with others, and imagination to see challenges in a new light. It has been a pleasure to watch Amalia's confidence and positive attitude bloom. We are excited to see what she will do next! Warm Regards,
- Leslie Hill, MS, OTRIL

Amalia has worked so hard especially this year, to accept herself and to work through her challenges. She has blossomed into such a hardworking and caring young woman.
- Lindsay Lush

Amalia has a spirit that needs to be recognized! She has been a student in the Lower School for 9 years. Amalia is literally and figuratively a cheerleader of Perkins. In the 9 years as a student, Amalia has grown in so many ways. She has learned to be a friend to many, and is quick to lend a hand in the time on need. Amalia is more accepting and tolerate of others. Although, self-acceptance is a life-long goal, Amalia is on her way. As Amalia becomes more aware of her challenges, she is developing a greater understand of what she has to offer others. She has also learned more appropriate ways to handle disappointments. Amalia has also had to overcome family situations greater than most of us could ever dream of. Her level of understand her family dynamics is remarkable. As Amalia moves on to Secondary, I am sure she will continue to make a difference in other people's lives. I recommend Amalia highly for this award.
- Becky Vercollone

Chloe Hennessey (6 nominations)

I think Chloe Hennessey would be an excellent nominee. She is incredibly positive and sweet!
- Rebecca Lam

I'd like to nominate Chloe Hennessy! She's always positive and caring, and really takes the time to get to know others in the lower school. She cares so much about taking care of her friends and roommate. She is always smiling and brightens every day! It's impossible not to smile when you're spending time with Chloe.
- Miriam Zisook

My vote goes to Chloe Hennessy. She is the epitome of the qualities that we remember Jesse for ... Super positive about everything; so kind and thoughtful with peers; enthusiastic way beyond reason (everyone gets to be bored sometimes, but it doesn't seem true of Chloe -whatever we do is what she is most excited to do!}. She's a delightful person, and it would be lovely for her to be honored. Thanks.
- Lisa Martino

I vote for Chloe Hennessey. She truly has a similar spirit and soul as Jesse -Always smiling, super positive attitude, always gives 100% effort in everything she does, and she seems to lift up the spirits of everyone she encounters - just like our dear beloved Jesse. Hope she wins!
- Michael Bertolami

Chloe Hennesey arrived just last year and almost immediately became an important member of our school community. She is cheerful and friendly to everyone. She has a great sense of humor. She has some real difficult physical challenges but she handles them valiantly.
- Peg Beck

Chloe is the most positive student and person that I have ever met, ever! You know how you say a person is "glowing"? Well, Chloe is always glowing! And she makes everyone she meets feel special...always! When she sees you, she gives you the most unbelievable smile and says your name really loud like you are the most special person in the world and that she is sooooooo happy to see you. She is a friend to everyone she meets. Chloe has a lot of challenges but she is always upbeat, wants to try everything and wants to be independent! If you aren't in the best of moods and you cross paths with Chloe .... you can't help but smile and be happy! She is an amazing young woman. She is also your typical teen .... loves music, certain "teen idols", hanging with her friends, shopping, cool accessories and so on. Chloe is a ray of sun shine every minute of every day! What an inspiration for us all!
- Betsey Porter

Daniel Weiner (5 nominations)

I would like to nominate Daniel Wiener. In his five years at Lower School, Daniel has proven to be a great friend to staff and students alike. Daniel is one of the most naturally kind students I have ever worked with. He is always ready to say a friendly hello and have a short conversation with anyone he encounters. He is always one to ask his peer why they are upset and gives thoughtful compliments to his friends. He's also a sports fan and is constantly wearing Red Sox/Patriots/Celtics apparel. Lower School will miss Dan as he moves onto Secondary this summer. - Erin Calder

I would like to nominate Daniel Weiner who is also friendly to everyone. He is a kind and gentle person. - Peg Beck

Daniel is a very kind young man. He is a friend to everyone, and although he is a little shy, he always tries hard to let you know that you are important, and says "hello" and "how you doing" in his deep teen voice! Dan has a lot of challenges and still tries hard and doesn't complain. He is the sweetest young man to his twin brother who is also at Perkins. He encourages him and always has a kind word and a hug for him. Dan is a wonderful young man! - Betsy Porter

I was very fortunate to have worked in Lower School when Jesse was a student here. didn't have the good fortune to work directly with Jesse. l was however, lucky to watch him brighten the days of others (including mine) with just his presence and smile. Daniel Wiener does the same here in Lower School. His enormous smile is quite infectious. He is caring, generous, funny, and curious about learning everything and anything. Daniel has been doing the Lower School attendance job for many years. He goes from classroom to classroom collecting the attendance sheets daily. He makes everyone smile. He considers everyone his friend and misses them when they are absent. Daniel will be missed greatly in Lower School when he graduates. I am sure the Secondary staff and students will realize quickly how fortunate they are to have Daniel! - Jeannie Kelly

I would like to nominate Daniel Wiener. Daniel is a good friend to all and a pleasure to have as a student. He is a thoughtful and caring young man who loves to be with his friends. He loves to sing, to stop to smell the flowers and to help others. He always makes a point to introduce himself to new students and staff and make them feel included. These are just a few reasons that I think he deserves the Jesse award. - Mary Walsh

2015 Perkins School for the Blind's Graduation and Spirit Award Presentation

Maggie N. was chosen as the winner for the 2015 Spirit Award!!!

Maggie is a charming girl. Although she has communication challenges, she manages to connect with everybody. She has a positive and friendly attitude. Besides, she’s a hoot.

I want to nominate Maggie N. She is graduating from Lower School this year and has been attending Perkins since she was 10 years old. She is a total communication user (sign language, voice output device, vocalizations), and despite not being able to speak fluently, she is one of the most outgoing and socially engaging students I’ve met. She loves her classmates and her teachers, and will often run up to them in the hallway and wave/laugh/talk/smile at them. Her performance in chorus is enthusiastic, and always makes the audience smile. She is such a sweetheart and she is awesome.

I would like to nominate Maggie N. for the Jesse Isabelle Award. Here’s a gal with such challenges in speech, but that says nothing about the way she’s communicated her love and enthusiasm for this school and everyone in it!

Maggie is the most enthusiastic, friendly and kind student I have known. Maggie is nice to everyone. Her smile lights up the halls and any room she is in. She can be a little anxious with new things, but she has really risen to the occasion and tried lots of new activities. She loves school! Maggie uses a communication device and it is amazing how independent she has become with her device. And, she wants to talk to us and share information about school and home and ask us questions!! Maggie is graduating this year and will join some friends who have graduated before her. I think it will be exciting as Maggie heads off on this new adventure in a really good place, socially and academically. I think that Maggie has lots of school spirit and spunk, just like Jesse!!!

I would like to nominate Maggie N. for the Jesse Isabelle Spirit Award.

Hello, I believe Maggie N. would be ideal to receive this award for the following reasons: Maggie N. is the epitome of friendliness, enthusiasm and a positive attitude. Maggie is known for saying hello to staff and fellow peers. She is very patient and allows an appropriate amount of wait time for some of her peers to respond. Maggie is the “Oprah” of our classroom---she always has a great attitude and motivates us all to be excited about our day! Maggie cares tremendously about everyone she knows, and she even reminds staff about important dates or activities that need to be done. Maggie never fails to bring a smile or a comforting hug every day.

Cullen Gallagher was chosen as the winner for the 2012 Spirit Award!!!

Nick Klayman was chosen as the winner for the 2011 Spirit Award!!!

Nick Klayman (11 nominations)

The one and only student I thought of for this award is Nick.

I nominate Nick Klayman for the Jesse Isabelle Spirit Award because he has the virtues that Jesse had--- he is always enthusiastic, positive and friendly when he comes to deliver newspaper to us.

He always greets us by our names, gives us a big smile and very so often sings to us!!!!

He's just that type of student who I don’t really know that well, but he always leaves our room making my students and staff members happy.

He's a student who’s clearly got spirit and spunk, just like Jesse. I think he deserves to win this award!

Nicholas is a charming, joyful, always positive young man.

He has the ability to brighten up the day of those who are lucky enough to spend time with him

Nicholas enjoys bowling, but what Nicholas really loves to do is to cheer for others

Brian McCauley was chosen as the winner for the 2010 Spirit Award!!!

"from the positive attitude I have seen him exhibit at Health Services."

"He’s upbeat AND he’s a devoted sports fan."

"He's well liked by his classmates and teachers, has developed some leadership abilities and, in short, is the obvious choice for the inauguration of this award."

"for his increased willingness to try, to explore, and to eat new things that are presented to him with enthusiasm! This is one of Brian's greatest challenges, and he demonstrates self-motivation to expand his interactions with the world."

"He is always positive, happy and engages both staff and peers in a respectful conversation. He shares from the bottom of his heart."

"Just like Jesse, Brian is such a nice and hard working kid who enjoys being with staff and peers and always has such a positive attitude making him an ideal candidate for this award."

"He is always positive and works hard."

"always interested in making positive conversations with others and ask people 'how they are doing' while really wanting to know."

"positive, hard working and a pleasure to encounter in Lower School."

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