Earlier this semester, the special education departments of Cobb, Marietta, and Douglas school systems sponsored the annual Looking Toward the Future conference. This conference is designed to assist parents, students, and teachers in planning for the needs of special education students after high school. Speakers and vendors offered information on a wide variety of subjects including vocational rehabilitation services, Medicaid waivers, financial planning, guardianship, and parent advocacy. Vendors providing services for students after high school were also available for the participants.
This year, student ambassadors were invited to help with the conference. Students were chosen to participate based on their enthusiasm, reliability, and good citizenship. It was the goal of the conference organizers to help improve each student’s confidence, independence, and to improve their work-related behaviors. The students represented Harrison, Lassiter, Walton, Wheeler, McEachern, Pope, Kennesaw Mountain, Osborne, Campbell, and Sprayberry. They acted as helpers for guest speakers, helped with registration, gave directions to parents and participants, provided refreshments for the vendors, collected feedback forms, and provided hospitality to all of the guests. Students who acted as ambassadors were Katie Carnes, Scott Clark, Nic Cook, Michelle Tracy, Charlie Cranford, Lauren Grzeskowiak, Tyler Harris, Noel Keilhauer, Michelle Martos, Jay Nichols, Aaren Panichi, Amanda Rich, Michelle Tracy, Duke Duckett, Sandra Naguib, Patrick James, Katie Holliday, and Ricardo Beach.
Feedback from conference participants indicated that the student ambassador program was a huge success. The program will be expanded next year.