Transition Services Fair helps students with disabilities find
and parents learn about resources available to ease the
transition from school to work
than 100 students and their families from Fulton and Montgomery
County schools heard first-hand from a panel of students and
parents about their personal journeys from high school into the
working world at the first Transition Services Fair, hosted by
HFM BOCES’ Career Assessment Office on May 15.
Former students shared their experiences, and parents offered
suggestions to make the process smoother and more successful.
“The experiences shared were comforting and informative for many
students,” said Letah Graff, HFM Coordinator of Career
Assessment. “It gives them confidence to sift through the
options they face at the end of high school.”
BOCES offers a “Transition” special education program for young
adults to help them manage the many options they face at the end
of high school. Students must consider whether to continue to
college or find a job. If potential jobs require special
training, where and how will that be accomplished? Young adults
also have to consider where to live in the community and what to
do for fun and socialization. The transition program helps
students make the connections with people and agencies that can
“Everyone makes transitions,” said Julianne Brown, HFM BOCES
Transitions Counselor. “The passage from one situation to
another can have pitfalls, and many people stumble. The change
from high school to college or the working world can be
difficult, especially for students with disabilities.”
The Transition Fair is an event conceived to unite students with
local agencies and resources that can assist in the transition
process. A main component of the fair is the resource room,
where 13 community agencies showcase their programs and make
connections with students. Young adults and their families can
stop, sit down and talk with an agency representative about
their plans and goals. The personal interaction allows the
families to meet the people that can assist them and learn what
services are available.
Ramon Rodriguez, from the Resource Center for Independent Living
(RCiL), presented information about Social Security work
incentives, while John Glode, from Liberty Enterprises, spoke
about the legal issues related to guardianship.
A focal point of the evening was the tables of appetizers and
desserts prepared by the students in HFM BOCES’ Foundations of
Food program. Visitors were clearly impressed with the steaming
trays of meatballs and appetizers alongside mounded platters of
creampuffs, mini cheesecakes and cookies.
Colleen Irish, a Foundations of Food student from Amsterdam High
School, said she and her classmates worked all week to prepare
the large variety of treats served at the fair. Adrienne
Phillips, a legally blind student from Mayfield who has been in
the Foundations of Food class for two years, said she was
excited to use her new skills to prepare food for the buffet.
She also welcomed the chance to show Transition Fair attendees
that students with disabilities can follow any number of career
paths and have productive, independent lives.
The Transition Fair also offered some festive opportunities,
including raffle prizes donated by local merchants. Josh
Larimore, a Gloversville Foundations of Food student who worked
at the fair all evening, won an iPod as the main door prize.
Mrs. Susan Naple, who recently retired from BOCES as a
professional development specialist with the Special Education
Training and Resource Center (SETRC), donated all the money
received as gifts at her retirement party to help fund the
transition fair. Naple had been an active member of the
Transition Task Force. The fair was also funded in part by
Lexington Center, Liberty Enterprises and Stewarts.
“We thought the fair was a great success,” said Brown. “We are
already working on next year’s fair. We targeted only
developmental disabilities this time, but hope to include
services for students with learning and mental disabilities next