Washingtonville High School Grade 11 student Victoria Rivera passed all three of her New York State Regents exams with the help of Superintendent Roy Reese’s therapy dog, Tucker.
During Regents week, Tucker accompanied Victoria to her exams in English Language Arts, United States History and Government, and Global History and Geography. Tucker has been trained by Mr. Reese to sense feelings such as stress, lack of confidence, nervousness, and anxiety. Tucker sometimes even acts goofy to make people laugh. He was happy to lend a helping paw during Victoria’s Regents exams, providing a sense of comfort by sitting next to her and leaning on her legs. Victoria and Tucker took each exam in a private room, separate from all other students, which allowed Victoria to focus even further.
“Tucker created a calming environment for me during my exams,” said Victoria. “At one point, my leg was shaking due to anxiety and he came over and put his head on my leg. I recommend that anyone suffering from anxiety reaches out and gets the help they need,” she expressed. “Tucker was right by my side when I needed him the most.”
When Victoria heard that Mr. Reese had therapy dogs, she scheduled a meeting with him to discuss the training process. She understands the value of therapy dogs and wants to train her own dog to be one. Mr. Reese evaluated her boxer and assessed that he would be a good fit as a therapy dog. Since training takes months, sometimes even over a year, Mr. Reese offered Tucker to accompany her during her exams.
“These were Tucker’s first Regents exams, he studied all weekend,” joked Mr. Reese. “Tucker understands anxiety and senses feelings that are not outwardly expressed. I knew he would be a great fit for Victoria during her exams.”
Victoria has now passed each New York State Regents exam required to earn a New York State Regents Diploma, pending senior classes.