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Graduate Samantha Noel, pictured right center, accepts a diploma from Board of Education Vice Chairman Maura Cook, second from left, and Arden Sotomayor, director of special education for Charles County Public Schools, left, at the 2012 Adult Independence Program graduation ceremony held May 18 at North Point High School.
LA PLATA, Md. -- Jeffrey Willie moved closer to his career goal on May 18 when he graduated, along with sixteen other students, from the Charles County Public Schools Adult Independence Program (AIP).
Willie aspires to be a maintenance worker like his dad, and he learned many of the life skills he needs to reach his goal in the AIP. “I am going to keep working and apply for a maintenance job to follow in my father’s footsteps. He was a maintenance worker and worked hard for 25 years,” said Willie, who works at Safeway and volunteers at Morningside House as a maintenance assistant.
Joining Willie, and accepting graduation certificates were, Derek Cleland, Lorenzo Flaim, Kevin Ford, Tonia Hagens, Nashea Hart, Alexander Johnson, Nicole Johnson, David McGhee, Samantha Noel, Jenna Reyes, Katie Stillwell, Takia Thompson, Courtney Trusty, Kyle West, Edwin Willie and Marcellis Wills.
Students in the program are trained to search for employment and to complete job applications, as well as how to access the public transportation system. There were 24 participating employers in the 2011-12 program. Some of the participating employers include Texas Roadhouse, Modell’s Sporting Goods, Goodwill Industries, Melwood, Safeway, Nanjemoy Landscaping and T.J. Maxx.
Graduation was an exciting day for the AIP graduates. “I won,” said Courtney Trusty as she raced to hug her parents. Other graduates grinned, while some held their certificates high in the air. Another graduate took a bow as he ended his experience with the AIP that has provided him with learning and life experiences.
The Adult Independence Program provides students with community-based learning experiences that give each individual the experiences of an independent adult. Throughout the duration of the program, which is designed for student's ages 18 to 21, students acquire adult skills and apply them to community environments.
The ceremony began at North Point High School with a picture slideshow of the graduates, followed by welcoming remarks from AIP graduate Nashea Hart. The graduates walked in one-by-one taking their seats in front of the room. The keynote speaker for the event was Michelle Bradshaw, a Life Skills teacher at Maurice J. McDonough High School. She gave an inspirational speech to the graduates and included the following quote from “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go. You’re off to great places. Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way…” After Bradshaw’s speech, the students got ready to accept their diploma. Special Education Instructional Specialist Tony Silva presented each graduate with a certificate.
Source: Charles County Public Schools