Editor's note: The following information was provided by Walsh University.
It was a graduation ceremony for one but with all the pomp and circumstance of a formal service for 500. Kristen Hall of North Canton was the first graduate — and only one so far — from the Transition U Program, a partnership between and the North Canton City Schools.
Donning a black robe trimmed in orange and a mortar board with an orange and black tassel, Hall accepted her diploma from North Canton Superintendent Mike Gallina and principal Tony Pallija. Hall is the daughter of John and Fawn Robinson of Canton and Todd Hall of Minerva.
Transition U, under the direction of teacher Patti Thoman, is a program specifically designed for cognitive/multiple disabled students, ages 18-22, who have completed social graduation with the North Canton City Schools. The unique collaboration between North Canton City Schools and Walsh University allows participants to have a real college experience with their same-age peers, from matriculation to a college I.D.
“I like Walsh University and Transition U because we don’t have school bells," Hall said. "When we are on break we can go to the library, or the game room, which is in the David Center. I also got to help with the girls’ basketball team. I volunteered at William Day Elementary and I also volunteered at the Golden Key and worked with kids. We went through Matriculation, too. I’m glad I got to be in this program.”
Ryan Garrott, a Walsh University education major, did his student teaching with the Transition U program.
“If you asked any great teacher what their dream curriculum would be, it would be one designed around each of their students’ needs,” Garrott said. “That is precisely what we did (in the Transition U program). Working with each student in the Transition program was truly the best possible learning scenario for me and it has changed how I think and what I do each time I step into a classroom.”