ESD 112 Student Transition Educational Program Services (STEPS) recently held a graduation ceremony to honor students completing their time in the life-changing program. STEPS, a community-based program designed for 18-21-year-olds with disabilities, provides students with additional assistance in transitioning from high school to the world of work or education and furthering their independent living skills.

The ceremony, held at the STEPS facility in Longview in June, honored eight students.

“The students are amazing and the STEPS program is exceptional,” said ESD 112 Director District 1, Dr. Richard Graham. “I have attended graduations nearly every year and always enjoy hearing the inspiring student stories, and seeing their comradery and how they cheer one another on. STEPS graduation is an important milestone in their independence journey.”

“Each student presents a power point they made that summarizes their accomplishments and dreams for the future,” said Jeanette Forman, assistant director of Special Education at ESD 112. “They talk about moving onto new adventures – their future plans, and they acknowledge their friends, family, and staff that have supported them through their journey.”

Graduate Jacob Coulson attended STEPS for two years and gave an inspiring speech during the ceremony, offering some pointers to his fellow graduates. “My advice to you is to challenge yourself, never underestimate your power and never give up,” Coulson said. “YOU have survived 100% of your worst days. YOU are future world changers. I look forward to seeing what you accomplish here at STEPS and beyond.”

During their time at STEPS, students participate in community-based career exploration and development, education, training, and support. This experience helps them to build daily living, communication, employability, time management, and social skills, with the goal of preparing them for post-secondary education or employment.

Congratulations to STEPS 2022 graduates Jacob, Mercedes, Kaylee, Shawn, Emma, Paige, Cole, and David!