Huntley Community School District 158 recently held its first Commencement ceremony recognizing graduates of the LIGHT (Life Instruction Guiding Huntley Transition) Program.
The LIGHT program is a special services transitional program that aims to prepare students ages 18-22 for independent living with supports for employment and education and/or training.
Among many exciting activities and field trips, earlier this year the LIGHT Program visited the studios of STAR 105.5 FM.
Graduates honored at the ceremony included:
- Jack Gazda, who is employed at Offsides Bar and Grill in Woodstock
- Sara Martin, who is employed at Trader Joe’s
- Dan McEwen, who is employed at Gap Outlet and Special Soaps.
In addition, special tribute was paid to Taylor Kalischefski, who unexpectedly passed away on January 15.
Since it began in 2013, the LIGHT Program has grown to achieve remarkable success in supporting employment and independence for its students.
This year the LIGHT Program had 40 students (Tiers 1-4), with 75% actively employed overall. Of the students looking for employment, 92% are competitively employed, substantially higher than the national labor force participation for individuals with disabilities of 20.4%.
In addition, each graduate completed over 500 volunteer hours and earned a silver cord for their hard work and efforts.
The ceremony celebrated the achievements of Tier 1 and Tier 2 students while enrolled in the LIGHT Program. Most students in Tier 1 and Tier 2 did not participate in the graduation ceremony when they completed their high school graduation requirements.
Congratulations to all of the students who graduated, their families, and the community members who support the LIGHT Program.