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Beyond Academics Graduation

Graduation1The University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s (UNCG) Integrative Community Studies program had 11 graduating seniors this year. Four of those graduates, Kaitlyn Dawson, Rebecca DiSandro, Bradford West and Tommy Thel are supported by Monarch through the Beyond Academics program.

Beyond Academics supports students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) enrolled in Integrative Community Studies, a four-year certificate course of study. The program emphasizes higher education, self-determination, community inclusion, career development and independent living for those with I/DD.

Program Director Elizabeth Leavitt said you could clearly see the pride and a sense of accomplishment on each graduate's face.

“It was incredible to see that the room for the ceremony was packed to capacity with people who have supported these graduates over the years. Attending the graduation ceremony was truly rewarding for me, knowing that Monarch played a role in supporting some of these graduates and helping them to reach this milestone,” she said.

Monarch has partnered with Beyond Academics since 2014 and helps mentor students as they transition from college life into their communities. They work to connect people supported with community resources, social events, jobs and continuing to maintain a high level of independent living.

Four of the people we support in Guilford County also graduated this year from Guilford Technical Community College’s compensatory education program. Chris Jackson, a resident at Monarch's Dogwood Circle home, served as emcee during the graduation and spring fling program, and the Monarch graduates were Ken Melton and William Hedgpeth Joyce Lester and Pat Roach.

Click here to watch the video of Joan Johnson, executive director of Beyond Academics, who shares more about the program and Monarch's partnership.

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