Fair preps students for next step in life

Published 7:28 pm Friday, May 28, 2010

Lifestyles & Features Editor

Students from across Beaufort County gathered recently for the first-ever Transition Fair, an event planned to assist them in making the jump from high school to life as an adult.
The event, geared toward students with disabilities, was held on the campus of Beaufort County Community College and was organized by Meredith, Woolard, Beaufort County Schools’ transition coordinator.
“There are a number of school districts in the state that do this, so, locally, we wanted to let the students know what services are available to them after high school,” Woolard said.
Agencies and other groups represented at the fair included BCCC Admissions and Student Services, Easter Seals United Cerebral Palsy MEANS Project and Supported Employment, Division of Services for the Blind, LifeQuest Inc., N.C. Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Beaufort County JobLink’s Youth at Work program, Beaufort County Health Department, Eastern Regional Vocational Rehabilitation Facility, Beaufort County Schools, Beaufort County Development Center, Country Living Group Homes, Beaufort County Department of Social Services and East Carolina University’s Project STEPP.
The agencies and other groups were on hand to answer questions about their respective services and offer information about employment, post-secondary education and training, community involvement, recreation and independent living.
“The term ‘students with disabilities’ encompasses a number of children with a vast range of challenges,” said Sarah Hodges, BCS’s public information officer. “These challenges may be so mild that most people are not aware the student has any difficulties, and others could be profound.”
“This fair is part of our plan to help prepare our students for the next step,” Woolard said. “We’re helping to make sure they’ll be successful once they leave high school.”
The event produced positive feedback from the participants, Woolard added.
“The students gave us suggestions about what they’d like to see next year,” she said. “And we hope to see an increase in the number of parent attendees in the future.”
The Transition Fair is expected to become an annual event offered by Beaufort County Schools, according to Hodges.
“Our goal as educators is to prepare students for their next step in life, no matter what that step is,” she said.