United States – 06-14-2019 (PRDistribution.com) — Three local students with autism from District 99 Community High School District were each awarded a $5,000 transition scholarship to support student success at the college or apprenticeship of choice. The scholarship program was founded by Dr. Maureen Dunne — a Rotarian and alumna of Downers Grove South High School – as part of The Transition2Success Project (www.transition2success.org), a unique program that provides grants and scholarships for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the form of customized supports targeting individual strengths to promote success.
“The program is the first of its kind in that it is transportable to any college or apprenticeship and has been designed specifically to bridge high school to college or work so that teens with autism don’t fall through the cracks,” commented Dr. Dunne. “We will work to understand what’s needed and to provide a diverse and flexible set of supports and services, including counseling, executive functioning coaching to help with organization and time management, assistive technology, and other skill-building workshops. The goal is to bring to the table whatever resources are necessary to help build a bridge from the structure of the school system into the next phase of life, to help these kids move forward armed with the personal resources to find success and actualization.” Woodridge Rotary Club became an early supporter of the project with key members taking a special interest in seeing this program benefit the lives of local students. Woodridge Rotary hosted a special event at Seven Bridges Golf Club titled, “A Hometown Fundraiser for Autism” to raise funds for the scholarship program. Seven Bridges was nearly packed with local residents, parents, and community leaders who came together to support the program. “The Cover Girls”, an all-female band, with worldwide recognition for their signature electric guitar show, performed at the gala in support of the cause. The band, led by singer Jennifer Lowe, has received special notoriety recently with performances nationwide alongside the band, Chicago. Darien Rotary Club played a significant role, generously donating a full $5,000 scholarship. Debbie Mascitti, the newly elected President of Woodridge Rotary commented: “It was wonderful to see so many of our community leaders, Rotarians, teachers and parents at our fundraiser to show their full support and commitment to this worthy cause.” Of the three 2019 award recipients, two graduated from Downers Grove North High School, and one from Downers Grove South High School. Two of the students will be attending the College of DuPage in the Fall, while the other will be attending North Central College. “The selection committee had a tough time choosing the scholarship winners since the finalists were all so impressive,” stated Mary Onorad, a Woodridge Rotary member and former transition coordinator for Naperville School District 203. “One of the students received a nearly perfect SAT score and another is not only skilled at computer programming but also oil painting. The third wants to become an engineer, an interest that was born out of his early fascination with trains.” Rich Moore, a long-time leader in the Woodridge Rotary Club, commented, “We are so excited for these most deserving scholarship winners and are looking forward to their future success. This was a home run for the community, and it’s exactly why we got involved in Rotary in the first place.” The program will be expanding to other school districts in DuPage county. For more information, visit www.transition2success.org
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