Crossing Points students prepare for first-ever graduation

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Aajene Robinson

For the first time, students who are part of the University of Alabama’s Crossing Points Program will walk across the state at Coleman Coliseum this weekend with their fellow graduates.

Crossing Points offers students with intellectual disabilities a college experience and job training, and graduates will be receiving the Crossing Points Certificate in Occupational Studies.

Crossing Points Outreach Coordinator Jeremy Reid said it’s an incredible achievement for these students.

“No. 1, it provides them with an opportunity to see that they can achieve something significant,” Reid said. “The second thing is that it shows an institution like the University of Alabama, 38,000-plus strong is able to provide an inclusive space for individuals with intellectual disabilities to mirror what the world looks like.”

These graduates have completed a three-year non-degree certificate program offered through Crossing Points, which serves students with intellectual disabilities ages 18-21.

“We focus on really four aspects, academic success, independent living, employment and social skills,” Reid said. “Everything that we do we really focus and frame it through those four lenses. We work to equip them with resources and support so that they may have success both on campus during their three years and then once they graduate.”

Crossing Points Director and Co-founder Kagendo Mutua said these six students have taken inclusive coursework in departments across multiple colleges including the College of Education, College of Communication and Information Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences and College of Human Environmental Sciences.

“Crossing Points is a transition program,” Mutua said. “What that means is it’s a program that’s intended to prepare students for the next phase of their life: adulthood. We are now a three-tier program and today we are celebrating tier three.”

On Thursday, the students walked through a commencement ceremony rehearsal.

Crossing Points Graduate Olivia Baker said she’s grateful for the rehearsal ahead of the big day.

“I was a little bit nervous to through graduation, but now I’m OK,” she said. “I’m ready. Let’s go.”

Students Melissa Walker and Davis Spain said they’re excited to walk across the stage Saturday

“My expectation for Saturday is sitting with other students and being involved with normal students, and I’m ready for the big day to happen,” Walker said.

Spain agreed.

“I’m so excited about this and I’m going to see my whole family down here and I can’t wait to see my family, and have a great day,” Spain said.

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