October 5, 2018
Wakulla High School earned a $12,000 two-year grant from the University of Central Florida’s College of Communication, Innovation, and Education to help students transition to college and careers.
What makes the WHS SOAR (Supports, Opportunities, and Resources) club different from other college and career prep programs is that it is comprised of three groups: students with intellectual disabilities, students with disabilities other than intellectual disabilities, and students without disabilities.
Club members work together in teams to identify prospective colleges and universities of interest, learn about various careers, engage in mentoring, and participate in events and activities within the school and community.
SOAR sponsor Sonia Clark-Rosier, WHS Associate Dean of Student Services, explained, “All SOAR members, with and without disabilities, participate in all club activities. We are working on a paradigm shift within our school community that fosters inclusion, diversity, and acceptance of everyone, regardless of their differences. We also are already working cooperatively with current WHS clubs 'The Next Level' (for students without disabilities) and 'High School/High Tech' (for students with disabilities)."
Clark-Rosier applied for and received the two-year $12,000 grant from the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities at UCF. As the club advisor for SOAR, she is one of several WHS teachers who add support to the group.
The grant money of $6,000 per year will cover events such as an informational dinner for parents and SOAR students; local “College Day” visits (FAMU, FSU, TCC); regional “College Day” visits (UCF, Santa Fe CC); “Career Day” visits of area businesses like Publix; guest speakers; and transportation.
In late September, SOAR students and chaperones Clark-Rosier, Michelle Peddie and Janet Weber toured Florida A& M University. Said Clark-Rosier, “During the visit, club members had an opportunity to tour the campus, learn more about the educational opportunities and supports that FAMU offers, participate in the college dining experience, and have ‘face time’ with Florida A&M University’s president, Dr. Larry Robinson. For most of our SOAR students, it was their first step onto a college campus.”
The field trip to Florida A&M University was the first of four college tours planned during this academic year.
Additionally, club members will identify three career fields and develop individual career and post- secondary transition plans, host guest speakers at monthly club meetings, and visit local businesses to expand their knowledge about various career opportunities.
Noted Superintendent Bobby Pearce, “It is important that all of our high school students have a plan or plans for after high school graduation. Many have ‘plans’ but are unsure of the pathways to get there. Clubs like SOAR help our students navigate the often confusing process of applying for college or post-secondary training, preparing a resume, and practicing effective job interview skills.”
Students participating in SOAR were recommended by their teachers and other faculty and staff members. For more information, contact Clark-Rosier at firstname.lastname@example.org.