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TOPS Students Receive Knights Sweatshirts

Submitted by on December 16, 2013 – 10:06 am
Starting in the front row from left to right Sam Girard Jen Cha Katie Garofoli Middle row: Maria Savord Andrew Rollins, Kevin Mange Last Row: Amber Oja, Peter Tsoukalas Rebecca Raza, Ben Jansson.

Starting in the front row from left to right Sam Girard and Jen Cha of North Andover, Katie Garofoli of Andover. Middle row: Maria Savord of Andover, Andrew Rollins and Kevin Mange of North Andover. Last Row: Amber Oja, Peter Tsoukalas, and Rebecca Raza of North Andover and Ben Jansson of Newburyport.

Ten students in the Transition Opportunities Program (TOPS) recently received Northern Essex Community College Knights sweatshirts to mark the completion of a semester-long program that allowed them to experience college life.

TOPS, which is a joint venture between Andover Public Schools, North Andover Public Schools and Northern Essex, is designed to serve young adults with disabilities to help them reach their full potential through the development of daily living skills, social skills, and occupational skills.

Each Tuesday and Thursday the students and their teachers reported to NECC”s Haverhill campus from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. During each visit they attended one-hour classes where they learned customer service skills, introduction to computer skills or attended a freshman or campus life seminar.

“It was designed to give the students the experience of what it would be like to attend college,” says Brian Saad, lead teacher for TOPS. It is a great experience for the students. The college has been so supportive.”

This is the fourth semester that TOPS students have been visiting NECC. In addition to attending the TOPS class, they visit the Sport and Fitness Center twice a week where they participate in pool, foosball, darts, ping pong, cards, or exercise in the NECC fitness center.

By developing marketable, entry-level job skills, and connections with local agencies and institutions, students become confident, productive, and active members of their community, according to Saad.

For additional information contact Dr. Ellen M. Grondine, assistant vice president, NECC Planning & Strategic Initiatives, or 978 556-3942.