Next Steps at Vanderbilt graduated its fourth class of students on April 30, 2014 in a ceremony held in the Wyatt Center on Vanderbilt’s Peabody campus. The six graduates included Daniel Bautista-Sanchez, Justin Hunter, Haley Kellar, Evan Slayton, Bud Sugg, and Danny Viteri.
The ceremony began with a joyful welcome to families, Ambassadores, Next Steps alum, and program supporters, from Vanderbilt Kennedy Center director Elisabeth Dykens. Dykens marveled at the great accomplishments of the graduating students and thanked all of those in attendance whose support of the program has enabled it to flourish.
Graduating Ambassadore, Rebecca Moody, took the podium next to encourage the graduates to think back to their first time on campus, and then to leap forward to their last day to recognize just how far they all had come together. Moody thanked the students for reminding her not to take the college experience for granted, and for leading her to a career in special education.
Graduating Next Steps student Bud Sugg became the first student to formally address attendees during a graduation ceremony. Bud reminded his classmates how important a balance between work and play is for living a good life. He drew examples from his time in Next Steps to illustrate how the program helped to instill this understanding in his own life. He encouraged everyone to stay in touch and wished his peers great success in reaching their goals.
Vanessa Beasley, associate professor of Communication Studies, delivered the farewell remarks. She noted the impact Next Steps has had on the Vanderbilt campus and then shared with the graduating students the best life advice she, personally, had ever received: Show up, pay attention, and don’t be too attached to outcomes.
The ceremony concluded with each of the students receiving certificates and being recognized for their outstanding accomplishments during their 2-years at Vanderbilt. A reception followed with lots of food, hugs, and best wishes.
Next Steps at Vanderbilt is a 2-year nonresidential certification program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, providing individualized Programs of Study in the areas of education, social skills, and vocational training. Its program mission is to provide transformational learning experiences, within an inclusive educational setting.
Next Steps at Vanderbilt is currently accepting applications for the fall 2014 semester.
For more information, visit NextSteps.vanderbilt.edu or call (615) 343-0822.
Last Updated: 5/1/2014 2:21:56 PM
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