College Living Experience Marks 7th Graduation Ceremony For CLE Austin

Thirteen CLE Students Earn Degrees and Certificates

Jul 30, 2013, 12:13 ET from College Living Experience

AUSTIN, Texas, July 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- College Living Experience (CLE), a national organization founded to help students with special learning needs achieve post-secondary education and independent-living skills, today announced its seventh graduation ceremony for CLE Austin.  For the 2012-13 academic year, five students completed the CLE Austin program, in addition to eight others who obtained a degree or certificate in their course of study, with the next steps of continuing their higher education track or entering the work force.

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Stephanie Martin, president of CLE, commented, "CLE celebrates the academic achievements of all of our students in the program."  This year in Austin, eight students successfully completed their higher education course work and CLE requirements, which provide them with the degree and skills to look for jobs in their chosen professions.  One student just began his position with a landscaping company, while other graduates from the CLE Austin program are actively seeking employment in customer service, hospitality, computer science and retail.  

During graduation, David Torrente, CLE tutor and advisor, emphasized to graduates, parents and staff, "All of our students are graduating for something unique," and in reference to the academic, career-training, and professional aspirations of each CLE graduate, he added, "We are celebrating each unique individual and what they have accomplished." David ended with a specific address to the parents: "These are amazing students, and thank you for letting me work with your sons and daughters."   

Following David's remarks, CLE graduate Josh Boin said, "Each person has made an everlasting memory.  I have a great social memory, and I can quote almost any conversation or situation that I have ever been in ... and when I am missing [my friends from CLE], I can just replay a really great memory from even the tiny, tiny little things."  Josh concluded, "This has left an amazing impact on my life.  All that is left now is to get a job, start living more independently, and just keep moving forward." 

With the help of CLE, some students completed their high school diploma and GED.  These students are continuing their education with core classes at Austin Community College, while others in the program also achieved significant milestones in the VoCAT (Vocational Communications, Academics & Technology) program at Austin Community College, a continuing education program specifically designed to assist students with learning disabilities. 

Stephanie continued, "All of these graduates have gained valuable lessons in learning to set goals, define tasks to accomplish those goals, and maintain focus for successful completion.  The CLE program prepares students for professional and social independence after earning a degree where they can engage in career, family and community and lead productive and self-fulfilling lives based on their personal interests." 

In addition to providing tailored academic assistance to address the unique learning needs of each student, CLE sponsors diverse professional and social programs outside the classroom to help students identify their individual interests and personal skills.  For professional development, CLE partners with local businesses to provide CLE Career Development, a program designed to give students real work experience related to their academic or vocational studies.  

Other programs include CLE Service Days , where students and staff can volunteer with an established nonprofit community project, and CLE Serves, a domestic and international excursion-oriented, skill-learning trip.  Both of these volunteer programs enable students to make decisions in new environments to better understand how their own behavior affects the outcomes on himself or herself, on his or her peers as individuals, and on the group as a whole.  For CLE Service Days in Austin this year, students donated their time and hard work to Austin Dog Alliance, a nonprofit that offers dog therapy to autistic children.

These student-volunteer programs support CLE's academic objectives to keep students inspired in a life-long pursuit of professional and personal learning after graduation.

About College Living Experience
College Living Experience (CLE) provides post-secondary support to students with autism, Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD, and other exceptionalities contributing to special-needs learning.  CLE develops an individualized support program tailored around the unique learning challenges of each student.  Founded in 1989 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, CLE now provides support and services covering academics, independent living, social skills, and career development in five additional metropolitan areas across the United States serving over 250 students every year.  Each CLE location in Austin, Texas; Costa Mesa, California; Denver, Colorado; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Monterey, California; and Washington, DC offers these pillars of support while students attend the higher education program of choice, including local community colleges, vocational schools, and universities.  The evolution and innovation of CLE is defined by the organization's mission to reach beyond the boundaries of traditional support systems to provide new opportunities to families and students with special learning needs. For more information about CLE visit


Tiffany Prior

College Living Experience


SOURCE College Living Experience