Transition Plus special education students graduate

Transition Plus, a District 11 program for special education students age 18 to 21 in need of transitional programming, had its graduation ceremony May 30 at the Staff Development Center in Anoka.

Rachael M. Smith, a 2011 graduate, spoke at the Transition Plus graduation ceremony.
Rachael M. Smith, a 2011 graduate, spoke at the Transition Plus graduation ceremony.

The 75 graduates were introduced by their case managers and work coordinators.

Rachael M. Smith was the event’s speaker. A 2011 Transition Plus graduate, Smith attended Hennepin Technical College.

With an interest in child development, she works for the Anoka-Hennepin School District’s Adventures Plus program and as a special education paraprofessional in the Osseo School District.

“I have found my calling,” Smith said. “All of us can make a difference in the world. No matter what your dreams, I hope you accomplish them.”

Also honored at the event was Marita Taylor, a student from Blaine High School, who received the Minnesota Association for Career and Technical Education Special Needs Personnel (MnACTE/SNP) Student of the Year award.

The award was presented by Ann Hicks, a MnACTE/SNP board member, and Linda Warner, Taylor’s work coordinator.

The award recognizes students each year that have overcome barriers to achieve his/her highest potential for success.

Taylor was one of eight students in Minnesota to receive the award. In addition to the award, Taylor received $250 that can be used to assist her with her post secondary plans.

Warner nominated Taylor for the award for the progress she has made toward achieving her career goals of being hired as a full-time custodian and to earn a special boiler’s license, despite life’s obstacles.

For the past three years, through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Program, Tayler has worked at Jefferson Elementary School.

This year she started working independently as a substitute custodian. This summer, she will work as a temporary, full-time custodian in the district.

Taylor plans to take her boilers license test in August.

“Marita’s strong work ethic and self-determination in attaining her career goals are an inspiration to everyone who knows her,” Warner said.

“I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from Marita for the past two years.”