Graduation doesn’t mean learning is over.
For some, the learning continues after graduation on a high school campus.
At Ridge Community High School, students in the ESE transition program continue to learn up until age 22.
For 12 students, the program prepares them for independence after they exit the public school system.
“It’s set up like a work program,” said supervisor Ruby McCray who heads the English as a Second Language (ESE) transition program at Ridge Community High School. “We’re not teachers, we’re supervisors.”
They are school board employees who lead the students through various service jobs around a school campus as well as learning practical skills in the classroom.
The students graduate but chose to defer receiving their diplomas and participate in the program.
One student received a certificate, and a graduation was held for him Friday,” said McCray.
McCray and Amy Miller along with vocational trainers Patricia Blair and Damaris Beltram run the program.
Student Brianna Quinones explained what she does in the program.
“When I first came into this program I didn’t know where to start,” said Quinones. “There are things we do on the schedule. We get breakfast. We do the announcements with Ms. Clark. We do package delivery, custodial work. I count the money and we have the coffee cart team.”
“Also, we learn in the office and workspace,” continues Quinones. “We work on the computer and every Tuesday we clean them. We do procedures, check our emails. We go to the educational website and do our worksheet packet and the money math. We do exercises. It’s really fun. Mrs. Ruby and Mrs. Miller help me learn better and grow better.”
“Hopefully they can go into gainful employment,” said McCray. “Despite our young adults’ disabilities and challenges, they encourage me to strive and achieve personal goals in my life and believe I can accomplish anything if I don’t give up. I’m helping to teach them independent living, vocational and social skills to become functional despite their disabilities. I learn from them every day.”