CIP Bloomington: 2015 Convocation
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CIP Bloomington: 2015 Convocation

The following is 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.

IMG_2225The 2014-15 year has been a time for recognizing and working with our character strengths. This unique approach offered us a different lens to examine ourselves and understand each other. We have learned that we can call upon our Character Strengths, particularly our top five strengths to renew our confidence by reminding us what’s good about ourselves and to nudge us along when we get stuck. At the convocation we watched an inspiring video exploring the concept of experiential avoidance and how we can use our Character Strengths as leverage as we push through difficult challenges. The Spring Convocation was a celebration of efforts students have made throughout the year as they courageously moved through challenging situations and arrived closer to their goals. It also gave us the opportunity to connect with and acknowledge our community partners who have supported our students throughout the year.

Three students received the “Most Outstanding Progress” award: Joey P, Patrick S, and Daniel I. Daniel’s award was highlighted with an article published in the Herald Times on the day of our Convocation where Daniel very eloquently shares his story.

Throughout the program we also acknowledged students with Character Strength Awards. CIP student Anna H’s top strength is Bravery. Melanie, her student advisor presented her with the Bravery award.

AHarner Bravery“Anna, over the course of the semester, I have seen you show many signs of what can be described as ‘everyday bravery’ which is characterized by building ties with others, developing moral bonds, exchanging information with peers. I have seen this in your consistent work volunteering in the community, taking initiative to foster and develop friendships both within and outside of CIP, as well as completing an awesome civic engagement project where you were able to teach us all a bit more about discrimination in the workplace, and these are just a few examples.

Bravery is valuable, as it allows us to evaluate appropriate courses of action even as we are confronted with fears or immediate danger. This character strength of bravery is the mastery of fear, rather than fearlessness. I am honored to present you with the award for the exhibition of bravery over the course of this year as you transition out of CIP and bravely into a new world of opportunity. Congratulations, and best of luck in all of your endeavors.”

Other students who were presented with Character Strength Awards:

Parker S – Leadership Award
Adam D – Perseverance Award
Sari Z – Courage Award
Andrew F – Humor Award
Sawyer N – Perspective Award
Thomas S – Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence Award

Other Acknowledgements:
Joe B – Academic Excellence
Cody R – Social Thinking Excellence
Marina K – Career Excellence
Sawyer N – Community Service Award
Rachel M and Parker S – Life Skills and Recreation Excellence
Patrick S – Wellness Excellence
Maggie T – Culinary Excellence
Jacky H – Executive Functioning Excellence

Audience View


Community Connections are what define our center. Through the years our approach has evolved from a simple organic one into something more organized and intentional. And, as always the students we work with continually shape our interests in the community.

Mendy Kossmann, our Academic Coordinator, has spent a lot of time developing valuable relationships at IU and it’s partner Ivy Tech Community College. Of particular interest is the creation of the new IU media school, which includes a new degree program in Game Designing – everyone’s dream job. It’s a merger of the School of Journalism, the Department of Telecommunications, and the Department of Communication and Culture with collaborative connections with the School of Informatics and Computer Science. We are big fans of the media school and have developed relationships with many professors, instructors, and advisors. At the Convocation we took time to honor and recognize their work along with two other individuals from Ivy Tech. We hold these three connections in high regard for the interest and respect they have given our organization as well as the numerous CIP students they have supported.

Andrew J. Weaver, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Media School
Indiana University

Sharron M. Cherry
Adjunct Faculty, Department of Professional Communication
Ivy Tech Bloomington

Amanda R. Fronek
Director of Student Life and Support Services
Ivy Tech Bloomington

Now more than ever CIP students are using the community to explore various career opportunities. Daniel’s recently published article illustrates how a community internship with Wisdom Tools, a small computer start up, helped him define a career path. At the convocation Taylor True, CIP Career Coordinator, with the help of CIP students presented awards to three local Businesses.

Andrew F, a C-STEP student, loves his job and the people at the Scholar’s Inn Bakehouse where he has worked for the last three years. He referred to it as his “second home” and was very pleased to show his gratitude by presenting an award to Josh Miller, general manager.

Jacky H, who is working on an Associates Degree in Business Administration, spends a lot of time at Rhett Skateboarding. For him it is a place of acceptance and recognition. He does costumer service, general maintenance, and is learning to run the cash register. He was very excited to present an award to Johnathan Pratt, the owner and general manager.

Joe B, an IU Media School student, in the Department of Communication and Culture, works at Global Gifts a locally owned nonprofit organization supported by a small staff and a dedicated team of volunteers. His experience has helped him develop flexibility and customer service within a culturally rich and unique business structure.

Karen and Tiffany Staff AwardBringing closure to the celebration was a time to acknowledge our staff who continue to create a motivating environment that encourages engagement and growth for all. Tiffany Roeder, Residential Staff, Medication Coordinator, and Scheduler was presented with the Staff of the Year Award. She ended the convocation with words Michael McManmon sent to all CIP staff in May of 2010. Tiffany was the first person Michael hired when he first opened the CIP Bloomington Center. Tiffany, whose top character strength is “Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence” often reads these words when she needs to reset her mind and heart.

“When we stay present we are aware of all the beauty around us. We don’t let the dead past or the imagined future pollute our day. We are calm and peaceful and see the solutions to circumstances and situations that need our attention. We stay open to the wonderful little things that occur each day which are the spice of life. We see the goodness in others and celebrate our lives. We are better partners, parents, employees and we feel affirmed as our true selves.”

We are all looking forward to a new and exciting summer!