L&I's 2015 Summer Academy for the Blind and Visually Impaired Graduates 24 Students

Academy Motto: "There are no overachievers, just under estimators"

Jul 31, 2015, 12:33 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry

STATE COLLEGE, Pa., July 31, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The PA Department of Labor & Industry's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services, the Pennsylvania Department of Education Bureau of Special Education Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN), and the Pennsylvania State University graduated 24 students today from the 2015 Summer Academy for the Blind and Visually Impaired in State College. Labor & Industry secretary Kathy Manderino addressed the students at the graduation ceremony.

"The Summer Academy is a life-transforming experience," said Labor & Industry Secretary Kathy Manderino. "Everyone involved has told me that they see immediate differences in the personalities of academy participants. You are all now more confident, more independent, and are well-prepared to take that next step to further your education."  

The Summer Academy is a three-week, intensive program focused on enhancing independence skills for students transitioning to post-secondary education, held at the Pennsylvania State University from July 12 through July 31. It is available at no cost to eligible students currently enrolled in grades nine through 12 in the 2014-2015 school year and who anticipate attending a two- or four-year college or technical/trade school upon graduation. The academy's primary focus includes: daily living activities, travel skills, self-advocacy and networking skills, career awareness, social skills, enhancing access technology skills and low-vision rehabilitation.

Academy graduates include:

  • Devin Adams, State College
  • Tatyana Allen, Philadelphia
  • Alan Brint, Highland Park (IL)
  • Taylor Carini, Altoona
  • Bridget Cassidy, Levittown
  • Madeline Garber, Wynwood
  • Victor Guzman, Mifflentown
  • Phillip Henderson, Montoursville
  • Casey Krouse, Wayne
  • Devon Landon, Kutztown
  • Lucas Leiby, New Cumberland
  • Kevin Lopez, Allentown
  • Megan Marsh, Shoemakersville
  • Kathryn McBratney, Millerton
  • Elizabeth McKay, Trafford
  • Marvin Pearson, Pottstown
  • Colin Prettyman, Red Lion
  • Katelynne Ratliff, Nescopeck
  • Victoria Ray, New Tripoli
  • Dashiell Reardon, New Milford
  • Shaniyah Scott, Philadelphia
  • Xavier Vega, Allentown
  • Rebecca Weber, Wayne
  • Dalton Wilcox, Muncy

Students learned about assistive-technology, cane-travel, daily-living-skills and have been introduced to competitively employed professionals who just happen to also be visually-impaired. A common student highlight was the visit to the Stone Valley Recreation Area for teambuilding exercises, which consisted of ropes courses, canoeing, and rock-climbing, encouraging them to stretch outside their comfort zones. These experiences have opened educational, independent-living, and employment opportunities for those served by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Sara Goulet, 717-787-7530


SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry