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Graduating students and families, in their own words

Life after Perkins looks different for every student. In whatever post-graduation pursuits our students go after, we’re here to help set them up for success. Going off to college, getting a degree and starting a career makes sense for some.

A young boy runs on the track during the Walk/Move for Perkins event.
Life after Perkins looks different for every student. In whatever post-graduation pursuits our students go after, we’re here to help set them up for success.

Going off to college, getting a degree and starting a career makes sense for some. For others, assisted living and supported community involvement opportunities make more sense.

To show you what we mean, we’d like you to meet graduating students and their families, to give you a sense of their next chapters. And we’re thrilled to have them express in their own words — some in writing, some using assistive technology — what they’ve learned and what they’re most excited about for life after Perkins.

Colby practices the piano on a baby grand on the stage in the Hilton auditorium.

Colby is a student in the Deafblind Program.

He’s been at Perkins since before he could even remember, first arriving as a student in the Infant-Toddler Program. Now, Colby is pursuing his passion as a pianist. Thanks to what he learned at Perkins, Colby, who prefers to communicate in short sentences, was able to tell us about his plans for the future, using a refreshable braille display and voiceover technology connected to his email account.

“I will graduate. I play the piano. I play the keyboard. The camping trailer with Mom and John. Goodbye to school.”

Ashley speaks at a past Perkins Possibilities Gala.

Ashley came to Perkins as a teenager, after an injury caused her to become visually impaired.

So she’s had to relearn skills she’d already mastered, while at the same time learning a whole new way of life. But she’s ready to now be independent. Here, she reflects on what she learned at Perkins, and what she’s looking forward to next.

“My lesson learned would be knowing that no matter where we come from, or how we learn, we will always be accepted and we’ll forever be a family. I’m excited to have my whole life in front of me to become my best self. I’m looking forward to moving into my own place and soon getting my guide dog.”

Max races down a track holding a guide wire while a teacher runs by his side.

Max, who’s nonverbal, came all the way from Alaska to go to Perkins.

He plans to move home, to spend time with his family and in the outdoors. He’ll move into a nearby group home where he can explore supported employment opportunities and build a social life. His parents, Brian and Betsy, share how special Perkins has become to their whole family.

“Our favorite memory will be of the wonderful community of caring and dedicated people at Perkins that Max has been a part of, how happy he has been living and being a student on campus and how excited he has always been to go back to school after each break. His enthusiasm for being at Perkins was clear yet again when we were preparing to return to Perkins this past fall after having been home in Alaska for six months.”

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