I was recently asked to provide a success story about one of the students in the TRADE program. Glancing though the roster of 40 students, however, I could recall no dramatic success stories. Rather, the emerging mental image was of many earnest laborers methodically pursuing their dreams. Surveying the students diligently working at their computer stations and remembering their excitement during the Achievement Celebration last December, I contemplated how far they have come.
Students have entered the TRADE program with widely varying academic and computer skill levels. They arrived hoping they had found a program that would enable them to build computer skills and/or to become more employable. They just needed to be in a program that would be responsive to their individual needs. They discovered that when given time to learn at their own pace they were able to learn how to use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. They were able to use a search engine and communicate through email. The curriculum was challenging and interesting. They were surrounded by supportive instructors.
The following comments, provided by students recently, are typical:
“I enjoy coming and I’m starting to learn something new every time I come. The staff are nice and everybody is nice here.”
“I really like it because I can go in there now and just do it myself. Before, I had to have somebody to help me. It’s helping me. Some of the stuff that I saved I can see on my computer at home…and show it to my mom.”
“The class is wonderful and I love coming here…It really helps me to be a good worker on the computer and to be professional.”
“I like the class. I learn a lot. It would help me when I get a good job because they would know that I know computers a lot and every time I learn new stuff. They are wonderful teachers.”
The TRADE students are like masons building stairways of personal and professional empowerment. The TRADE curriculum, assistive technology, and individualized accommodations are their bricks, trowels, and mortar. Although daily progress is often incremental, over time the results have proven to be quite substantial. Their methodical, hard-earned successes should be acknowledged and celebrated!