- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Jeffrey Willie moved closer to his career goal May 18 when he graduated, along with 16 other students, from the Charles County Public Schools Adult Independence Program.
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,” Courtney Trusty said 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 AIP provides students with community-based learning experiences that give each individual the experiences of an independent adult.
During the program, which is designed for students ages 18 to 21, students acquire adult skills and apply them to community environments.
The ceremony was held at North Point High School and began with a picture slideshow of the graduates, followed by welcoming remarks from AIP graduate Nashea Hart.
Michelle Bradshaw, a life skills teacher at Maurice J. McDonough High School, was the keynote speaker.
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 diplomas.
Special education instructional specialist Tony Silva presented each graduate with a certificate.