Twenty-five joyful graduates celebrated their accomplishments in Lesley's Threshold Program
Saturday, May 04, 2013
Jim Wilbur, Director of the Threshold Program, welcomed the graduates and their families and friends; members of the Lesley University Board of Trustees including Vice Chair Hans Strauch; Threshold faculty and staff; and Dr. Arlyn Roffman, founder of the Threshold Program and a Professor at Lesley.
“We honor all the wonderful men and women in this class,” said Wilbur. “Just look at what these young men and women have accomplished in a mere two years,” he marveled.
Wilbur also praised students’ families and noted to the graduates, “We know you guys didn’t get here by yourselves."
Student Speakers Hanna Adams, Daniel Dubinsky, Sarah Hay-Smith, Phillip Murray, and Anna Schwartz-Cohen addressed their classmates during the ceremony. Each speaker emphasized the importance of the friendships they developed at Threshold and the faculty’s support and mentorship to help them grow and gain confidence.
“It has been an incredible journey and I’ve grown into a different person,” said Adams.
The student speakers reflected on memories and milestones, from learning to cook and pay bills, to voting in the Presidential election last fall and navigating the T to Faneuil Hall and the Boston Garden.
“Threshold is not just a school, but it’s also a stepping stone in my life,” said Murray.
Threshold graduates heard an inspiring Graduation Address from Michael Kersjes, an innovative special education teacher and mentor who established a program to send special education students to space camp. Founder of the Space is Special organization, Kersjes wrote a book about the experience that was adapted into a movie starring John Corbett as Kersjes.
“You must take yourself to the next level every time,” Kersjes urged the graduates. “Challenge yourself.”
Lesley President Joseph B. Moore also addressed the graduates and their families, and he conferred their certificates at the conclusion of the ceremony.
“Any education is a partnership, and we have certainly been honored to partner with all of you,” said Moore, who lauded the students’ courage to enroll in Threshold, move to Cambridge, make new friends, join the larger Lesley University community, push boundaries, and more. “Congratulations for what you’ve done, and what you’re about to do.”
Musicians Billy Novick and Barry Johnston provided music throughout the ceremony, and Threshold Alumnus Daniel W. Levin ‘06 gave a vocal performance of “This is the Moment.” Graduate Olivia Smulyan performed a duet on violin with her father, Gary Smulyan, on saxophone, playing “They Can’t Take That Away from Me.”
The Threshold Program at Lesley University is a campus-based, two-year program for highly motivated young adults with special needs. Upon completion of the program, students receive certificates of completion and six college credits at a graduation ceremony held each year in May.
At the start of the yesterday’s ceremony, Wilbur noted that Threshold celebrated its 30th anniversary last fall, and has more than 600 alumni. Meanwhile, renovations are underway to upgrade Threshold’s buildings, and Wilbur thanked friends and families for their generous support of the project.
See more photos from the Threshold Graduation Ceremony.
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