by Susan Farley, CTP PRO Graduate
On Thursday, April 25, I attended CTP’s semi-annual Graduation as one of the graduates. The event was held at the Osher Foundation Education Center at the Ed Roberts Campus. Graduates from both the Computer Technician Training and the PRO Customer Service and Administrative Training programs were honored.
During the evening ceremony, I was taken aback by the obvious bond that students had formed in such a short period of time, as well as all of the support and pride felt from family and loved ones who were in attendance, and the heartfelt words spoken by the speakers.
Alex Tabony, the Executive Director of CTP gave the introduction to the evening. In his opening remarks, he said, “Today we are adding 20 new graduates to our family of more than 1000 graduates since 1974.” He further remarked, “This celebration is for the success the graduates earned through their hard work, and at the same time, the graduates’ success is also our reward for our hard work.”
Aubrey Green, Director of Employment Services, introduced the evening’s business speaker, Jeanette Mills, from Eden I&R/2-1-1 Alameda. She expressed how much their non-profit relies on, and appreciates all of their CTP student volunteers. She acknowledged J. Yates and myself, the current volunteers among the graduates.
A. Levien was the student speaker. In his speech, he quoted Maya Angelou, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” He added, “This is very true for the students of the Computer Technologies Program.” Following his speech, he was presented with the ‘Spirit of CTP Award’ by Alex Tabony.
Graduate, L. Coakley, was the evening’s second recipient of the ‘Spirit of CTP Award.’ Instructor, Jacob Lindsay, acknowledged Lauren’s challenges and perseverance in an emotionally moving and heartfelt presentation.
Finally, Alex Tabony presented Nisha Grayson the DOR Counselor Award, in appreciation of her support of both CTP and her clients.
Following the conclusion of the ceremony, there was a sense of camaraderie as graduates laughed and posed together for group photos. All of us had come to CTP with our own challenges and aspirations, and, with the support of our classmates, instructors, DOR counselors, and loved ones, we had reached our goal together.
When my training first began at CTP, what struck me was the immediate sense of acceptance and support among all students. We were aware that each of our fellow students had their own set of challenges, and we were all there embarking on a path to learn new skills together. Instructors and staff, many who also have disabilities, were amazingly patient, supportive, and dedicated, but until the graduation ceremony, I hadn’t quite realized just how much our success personally meant to them as well.