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2016 Amherst Convocation

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It was my pleasure to commence CIP Amherst’s final Spring Convocation & Awards Ceremony on Friday, May 13, 2016. Staff, students, and their families gathered at our center to celebrate the efforts, hard work, and accomplishments made by our students throughout the year. Highlights from the 2015-16 academic year include:

  • 100% student placement rate in community internships.
  • All students enrolled in college courses successfully completed higher than average course loads.
  • Amherst students completed over 100 hours of community service throughout the year for various community organizations.
  • Animal Club, our first student initiated club, proved to be a great success as the students did many different activities to spend time with and benefit the welfare of various types of animals.
  • Student public speaking opportunities – this year our students spoke about themselves and their personal experiences in college and at CIP more than ever before. They gained confidence in their public speaking abilities as they spoke to high school students, graduate students, educational consultants, and prospective CIP students and their families.
  • Student participation in a community fitness group at Daemen College. Together with other members of the community, our students were active members of group that focused on wellness, fitness, and nutrition throughout the spring semester.

2016 Amherst Convocation
2016 Amherst Convocation
2016 Amherst Convocation
2016 Amherst Convocation
2016 Amherst Convocation
2016 Amherst Convocation
2016 Amherst Convocation
2016 Amherst Convocation
2016 Amherst Convocation

In addition to all of the accomplishments listed above, we celebrated the individual achievements of our students and the progress they each made towards their personal goals. The following students were recognized for their exemplary performance:

  • Student of the Year – Sam C.
  • Academic Excellence – Eric S.
  • Career Excellence – Michael C.
  • Community Service Award – Sam C. & Michael C.
  • Social Skills Award – Lindsay M. & Sam C.
  • Wellness Excellence – Michael C.
  • Life Skills Excellence – Michael C.
  • Independent Living Award – Alex D.
  • Outstanding Progress Award – Lindsay M.
  • Outstanding Attendance Award – Michael C.
  • C-STEP Certificate of Completion – Michael C.

CIP Amherst also honored some special members of the community who provided opportunities for our students to develop their skills while gaining practical work experience in their respective organizations. Mike MacDonald, Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Daemen College, was presented with the Outstanding Service from a Member of the Community Award for his work with Sam C. Under Mike’s supervision, Sam served as a Manager of the Daemen Men’s Basketball Team for the 2015-16 year. This was an excellent overall experience for Sam, and he looks forward to continuing in this role next year.

We also honored Colleen Donovan and Debbie Hall of Canine & Company, Inc. with the Internship Sponsor of the Year Award. For the past two years, Colleen and Debbie provided outstanding support and guidance to two CIP students as they completed their internships and gained valuable work experience at their organization. Lindsay M. and Will S. spent many hours working with the dogs at Canine & Company, and are very grateful to have had such an incredible opportunity.

Additionally, it was my pleasure to present Jenel Meier, Head Student Advisor, with the CIP Amherst Staff of the Year Award. Jenel’s dedication to our students and her role at CIP made her a natural choice for this honor. In addition to her job as Head Student Advisor, Jenel also serves as Academic Coordinator, Medication Coordinator, and Summer Program Coordinator. She has a very stressful job but never lets it interfere with her work with the students. Jenel is a very kind-spirited and compassionate person, and is highly regarded by her colleagues as a key member of the CIP Amherst team. She genuinely cares for all of our students and regularly goes above and beyond her role to help the students whenever necessary. Jenel is truly deserving of this award.

In closing, the entire staff congratulated all of the students moving on from our program and making the transition to independent living outside of CIP. They were reminded of all of the hard work that went into achieving this goal and told that their skills development process does not stop once they leave us; it is a lifelong practice that will require their strict attention. The students were encouraged to try new things, go new places, and meet new people, and not to be afraid to experience all life has to offer. We all wished them the best of luck with everything they do in the future.


About the Author

Dr. Christine Ryan is the Program Director at CIP Amherst. She has over 18 years of experience working with college students, and developing, implementing, and managing academic support programs to promote student growth and success.

This has been a special needs program update from Asperger’s & LD College Programs. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.