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“Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.”

Getting Ready for a College Experience

Dena Stocco

My name is Dena Stocco. I was a student at Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, IL. When I graduated I attended the PASS-AGES program at National Lewis University for a year. I lived at home and took a cab to school in Evanston, IL every day. Then I decided I wanted to attend the PACE Program at NLU. The PACE students live in the dorms at NLU. They work at internships two days per week and attend classes the other days. They learn to shop in downtown Evanston for the things a student needs. There are parties and events planned by the students all year.

I applied to PACE but part of the application was to write a letter about one of my accomplishments. I wrote this letter and then my mom told me I should apply for scholarships to the PACE program.

I applied for three scholarships. The first was to a company called Band of Angels. They have scholarships only for people with Down syndrome who are going to continue their education after high school. Then I applied to the Northbrook Civic Foundation and to the Northbrook Women’s Club. I used the letter I had written for PACE as my letter for the scholarships. Here is my letter.

Being accepted into the PASS-AGES program is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life, I worked very hard in high school to learn everything that I could. I like to write stories about other people. I am a good writer for school, at work, and at home. I am good on the computer work. These things helped me to get accepted to the PASS-AGES program. I like to take more writing classes and computer classes this year or next year. I need to learn more about information on writing paragraphs and basic tools. Another reason I was accepted was because I speak up for myself and explain what I am interested in, what I want to do. PASS-AGES is helping me to learn about jobs, being independent, safety issues in the community, taking public transportation and budgeting my money.

I went to some job places and they were Barnes and Noble, Banner Preschool, hospitals, hotels. National-Lewis University Library, and PETCO. To get to these job sites we take the “L”, PACE bus, and walk. I have learned to not go in the street, on the curb, and stay off the train track. Because I have taken public transportation so much I am proud to say I can take the “L” to downtown Evanston. I know to get off at the Davis stop. From the Central Street stop near NLU, the Davis stop is three stops later. I am proud of myself and how I have learned to take public transportation. This is helping me be a more independent person.

At school, in math class we are doing our budgeting and learning about money. Some people put their money in the bank or develop a budget plan. A budget is a plan on how to spend and save your money. Budgeting is a little hard for me, but I am working on my skills.

At PASS-AGES we have goals. Some of my goals are: coming to class on time, following directions, treating others with respect, completing my homework and turning it in on time, being prepared for class, learning to take public transportation, and developing a portfolio. We have goals to help me become an independent person. I work hard on meeting my goals.

One day I received a letter in the mail form Band of Angels. I won one of their scholarships. Then, even though I graduated last year, I went to the awards ceremony at Glenbrook North High School to find out if I had won the other scholarships. I sat in the audience and when the announcers mentioned the Northbrook Civic Awards, I listened and heard my name called. I walked up on stage to receive my award. Then the Northbrook Women’s Club awards were read and my name was called again. I hurried on stage to receive my last award. I was very excited and so was my Mom.

Editor’s note: Applications for the Band of Angels scholarship can be found online at www.bandofangels.com. Or you can send a written request to: Band of Angels, 3048 Charlwood Drive, Rochester, MI 48306 or call 800-963-2237.

NADS News, September, 2004