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Exceptional students offered options

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Gloria Jinks, right, holds up a reading pen to Amarion Johnson’s ear Tuesday at the Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools 10th Transition Fair at Nash Community College.

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Exceptional high school students from Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools had a chance to explore their futures Tuesday at the 10th Transition Fair on the campus of Nash Community College. 

The event, which is usually offered on alternate years, normally takes place at the Nash County Agriculture Center in Nashville. However, that building is being renovated, so NCC stepped in to offer space in the Continuing Education building.

More than 300 students in the Exceptional Children’s program toured booths set up by vendors to explore higher education opportunities, job opportunities and resources available to them as they transition to life after high school.

“The purpose of this event is to provide information about the services available in the community as they get ready to graduate,” said Cyndi Steele, transition coordinator for the school district. 

Under state law, exceptional children can remain in the school system until they turn 22 or graduate from high school, whichever comes first. While these students may face a wide range of extra challenges in school, many of them are able to find jobs and independent living situations after high school with the help of available resources.

Several institutions of higher learning were represented at the Transition Fair including NCC and Louisburg College. The Opportunities Industrialization Center and WorkSource East also were on hand to discuss options for workforce training.

“Our goal is to help you gain hands-on job skills and learn what it means to be a good employee,” Jasmine Okiror of the Goldsboro-based Workforce East told students at a presentation Tuesday. “We also help you with job-seeking skills and help you learn to speak up for yourself.”

In a later interview, Okiror said that most of the training programs though WorkSource East are about three- to four-months long.

Several local employers also were on hand to talk to students about job opportunities after they graduate. Food Lion, McLane Carolina, Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant and Universal Leaf were among the companies represented.

Other community organizations offering services and resources were on hand as well.

“The Transition Fair is important because it allows students and their parents to access services and resources in the community that they may not know about,” said Christy Grant, director of exceptional children for Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools.

Alexis Skinner, 19, one of the students who attended the Transition Fair, said she learned a lot from the experience.

“I learned that people with disabilities can do whatever they want to do,” she said.

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