In an effort to encourage reflection upon their experiences at Next Steps at Vanderbilt, current and graduating students developed and delivered end-of-the-semester presentations to a room full of their friends, professors, mentors, supporters, and families. Of the 11 students presenting, 6 will graduate on April 30.
“The student presentations are a time for students to look back on their journeys at Vanderbilt,” said Next Steps director Tammy Day. “It is an opportunity for them to recognize and share their accomplishments, their fondest memories, and their growth and acquired skills. The presentations also give those around them an opportunity to learn about the rich and diverse experiences that students have while here. Each student worked in their Career Technology course to develop a Power Point presentation addressing questions about their class experiences, internships, greatest accomplishments, favorite memories, and what they are looking forward to doing next.”
Anna Graeflin, a returning student finishing up her first year, spoke about her internship with Vanderbilt Information Technology and highlighted her Vanderbilt class in the Department of Psychology. She spoke about Next Chapter Book Club, where she and her fellow students read The Book Thief. She reported on her participation in a class on self-awareness, where she learned about healthy relationships or what she called “The Talk.” Anna’s presentation was filled with photos of her enjoying time with friends around campus and illustrated the great self-determination skills she possesses.
Another student, Bud Sugg, will graduate from Next Steps this semester. His presentation, along with the five other students in the graduating class, highlighted his experiences over the last two years. Bud spoke about his favorite memories, like singing karaoke with his friends, co-hosting Vanderbilt Star, and taking a senior trip to Huntsville, Alabama. He shared about his accomplishments co-hosting at the 2013 award ceremony at Tennessee Disability MegaConference, and about being on the air at radio station WAKM. He expressed gratitude for his friendships, education, and for the challenges he went through that have made him a stronger person.
“It was lovely to hear from the students and to see just how much they have grown as independent individuals,” said Day. “It was also wonderful to learn about the people who had an impact on them through the Loyalty Awards.”
The Loyalty Awards was a new component of the presentation ceremony this year. Each graduating student was asked to identify and honor one person who made an impact on them during their program. Day says the students had a very difficult time choosing just one person.
Bud Sugg identified Kyle Jonas, his Ambassadore and job coach. “Kyle Jonas helped me to understand what it’s like to work at a media type setting, and that knowledge has propelled me to intern at a radio station,” said Bud.
Graduate Daniel Bautista-Sanchez named his Amabassadore Aparna “Uppi” Raj. “She was there with me on our tutoring and workout session and I felt grateful for her,” he said.
Danny Viteri named Carly Mecl as the person who made the biggest impact on him. “She is nice and works hard with me. She helped me with Next Steps classes,” said Danny.
Evan Slayton celebrated Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Social Worker Carol Rabideau. “She helped me talk about my feelings and asked me how my classes are,” said Evan.
Haley Kellar said her lead Ambassadore Kendra Osborn has made her a better person. “She has helped me solve all of my problems and struggles I may have in my life. Kendra has also taught me how to look at things in a more positive way instead of a negative way. Whenever I say that I can’t do something that it is too hard she always says that you can do it I know you can. Our friendship has come a very long way.”
On April 30, 2014, we will celebrate the graduation of the Next Steps at Vanderbilt Class of 2014. The ceremony will begin at 5 PM in the Wyatt Rotunda and there will be a reception immediately following in the lobby of the Wyatt Center.
For more information, contact Laurie Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: 4/21/2014 7:59:05 AM
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