Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) staff and parents celebrated the first set of students in the Class of 2018 at the Adult Independence Program (AIP) graduation ceremony held Friday, May 18. Thirteen graduates took the auditorium stage at North Point High School to celebrate their successes and program accomplishments.
Honored were Cameron Dew, Heba Habib, Emily Hughes, Brianna Jackson, Mathew Jackson, Logan Jenkins, Kenedeigh Johnson, Brenden Kelley, Danielle Murphy, Jerl Peoples, Estriana Smith, Rebecca Stine and Erica Tavernier.
Johnson led the opening of the ceremony, in which each graduate proudly took the stage as he or she was introduced during the processional. This year’s keynote speaker was Elizabeth Foster, Melwood Program Director, Work Force Development and Guidance. Foster said she has been working with students in the AIP program for the past three years and is amazed about everything the students have accomplished.
“I am here for the graduates. This is your day… your amazing day. The one you have worked so hard for. Your real work begins today. You have a right to live the life you want to lead. You are all so amazing and wonderful,” Foster told the graduates.
Students enrolled in AIP receive community-based learning experiences and hands-on job training. The program is designed for students ages 18 to 21. The goal for AIP students after they graduate is to transition to the work force and live independently. When they graduate, AIP students leave with skills such as how to navigate public transportation, apply for a job, participate in a job interview, manage their personal finances and communicate with their peers.
During the ceremony, Foster shared experiences each graduate gained through the program and their future plans.
Dew is independent and enjoys visiting with his family. He plans to continue working on living independently and landing a job with the Arc of Southern Maryland.
Habib wants to pursue a career in childcare or culinary arts. She is transitioning to Cerenity Inc. to continue learning about culinary skills and obtaining a job.
Hughes is active with her church and enjoys swimming and sports. She likes to give back to the community and plans to work with the Arc of Southern Maryland to continue with job training.
Brianna Jackson is known among AIP staff as an excellent writer with a great memory. She also is transitioning to Cerenity Inc. to continue her pursuit of a paid job.
Mathew Jackson enjoys attending school and working with animals. He will transition to the Arc of Southern Maryland to continue learning about the community and possible career options.
Jenkins also enjoys helping in the community and is compassionate and kind. He will transition to the Spring Dell Center to continue job training and learning more about how to seek a paid job doing something he enjoys.
Johnson is determined to live independently and also enjoys helping in the community. She transitions to Cerenity Inc. to continue job training and learn about possible career options.
Kelley likes learning through hands-on activities, such as repairing cars and working on electronics. He transitions to Cerenity Inc. to continue learning about the community and explore future careers.
Murphy is determined to live independently and obtain a paid position in the work force. She likes to cook and transitions to Bay Community Support Services to continue learning about possible career choices.
Peoples transitions to the Arc of Southern Maryland to continue to refine his employment skills. He is currently working at the Salvation Army, and has held this position for the past two years. His goal is to continue working in a full-time paid position.
Smith’s career goal is to work in the childcare or teaching fields. She is determined to meet her goal and is currently attending the College of Southern Maryland. She transitions to the Arc of Southern Maryland.
Stine has excellent computer and technology skills, and is not afraid to try new experiences. She will continue to work with a support agency to sharpen her employment skills.
Tavernier is working at the Journey of Faith Daycare Center and helps support her colleagues in the infants and toddlers room. Her goal is to become certified in daycare services. She transitions to LIFE, Inc. to continue working on her career goal.
The graduation ceremony included a special slideshow presentation that featured each graduate, and a video in which graduates shared their most enjoyable AIP experiences. Christina Sprague, a CCPS instructional specialist who works with students in AIP, closed the ceremony and offered sentimental words of encouragement to the graduates.
“I am so amazed to have shared these experiences with you. Through your journey, stand tall and proud. Reach toward the sky and always believe in your abilities. Always believe in your ability to succeed,” Sprague said.
This year’s community partners and employers include AlphaBest Education, Arc of Southern Maryland, Bay Community Support Services, Big Lots, Capital Clubhouse, Charles County Department of Community Services, Charleston Senior Community, Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, Children of America, Cobb Island Firehouse, College of Southern Maryland, Courtyard Marriott, Cerenity Inc., Elite Gymnastics Center and Fenwick Landing.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,900 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.