So – I have to get through 2 days of work and one day to pack before beginning my big adventure to Arizona/New Mexico. Work is not so bad, not too busy and just tying up loose ends. I took a long lunch today and went to the graduation ceremony of the Lake County Vocational Technical Consortium. This ceremony was held in a lecture hall at Lakeland Community College. My son was not graduating this year, but I know so many of the students and parents I went to cheer their achievements.
This program serves students with varying cognitive and learning disabilities by training them for work and life. These students are generally finished with their academic work and their respective high schools or are attending both high school and Tech part-time. They have worked hard to attain this goal, many of them have been in “school” since they were babies. This program moves them into the world of work, putting them into jobs in hospitals, libraries, parks, and manufacturing. Some of them will find employment in the community on their own, others will move into work programs through Lake County MR/DD. The sad part is, there are just not enough jobs out there for them, and federal and state funding has been cut to MRDD boards across the state, so those waiting lists are long. These are willing, able and serious workers. If you are an employer anywhere in the country who might have space for a student of this quality, I urge you to contact your local county board of MRDD and make your needs known.
The ceremony was very moving. Graduates were introduced by a teacher and they walked from the back of the room to the strains of Pomp and Circumstance, inspiring a standing ovation from the crowd. After they were seated in the front row, the teacher and 2 “undergrads” gave some highlights of the year. Employers were introduced and applauded by the audience. Parents were honored, with students presenting their families with a bouquet of flowers and a corsage for his/her mother/sister/grandmother. Each student was introduced and while on stage teachers listed their achievements and favorite activities and sports teams. Diplomas were presented and each student’s photo was taken with the administrator of LCVTC. We were then adjourned to enjoy some social time with cake and punch in a lovely atrium at the entry to the building.
Photos – sorry none. I forgot my camera :-(. One of our friends promised me copies so maybe I will post some later. In the mean time, just imagine 10 young men and women with faces shining like the sun, proud of themselves for a job well done! \(^_^)/