Transitions Graduation 2021 group photo of the graduates smiling

Students, families and staff gathered to celebrate the Spring Lake Park Schools’ Life Skills Transitions students at an end of the year celebration on Thursday, June 10. Students were honored for their hard work throughout the year and seven graduating students were presented with their diplomas.

At the ceremony, Superintendent Jeff Ronneberg, school board member Tony Easter and Transition staff Nichole Fetrow and Melissa Lindstrom presented diplomas to graduates Gaige Chase, Nicholas Hazelton, Cinthia Romero Hererra, Jaci Lange, Immanuel Reynolds, Anthony Kretzmann Williams and Alex Xiong.

I am extremely proud of this year’s graduates. Despite an unusual year, each of these students continued to work hard and had a lot of incredible experiences and learning moments that I hope they’ll take with them during this next phase of their lives. I wish them all the best of luck. - Nichole Fetrow, Life Skills Transitions Teacher.

The mission of the Life Skills Transition Program is to connect young adults, ages 18-21, with disabilities and their families to community resources, empowering them and strengthening their advocacy skills in order to navigate their life plan. The program helps students transition from a school setting to adulthood with the focus areas of instruction being employment and training, recreation and leisure, community participation and independent living skills.

The program works with local businesses to set students up with jobs to learn employment skills. At the reception, Nichole Fetrow and Melissa Lindstrom, Life Skills teachers, presented students with certifications for their accomplishments and growth in their employment skills this school year. Throughout the 2020-2021 school year, students were employed and volunteered at Global Health, Hope for the Community, Hy-Vee, Substance Church, Walgreens and Manna Pantry.

Students also worked at several programs throughout Spring Lake Park Schools, including custodial work at Woodcrest Spanish Immersion and in the kitchens at Spring Lake Park High School. They were also vital partners within the Panther Pantry and Weekend Food Packs Program, helping to shop for food and put weeknd food packs together for students who need them.

The Transitions program also focuses on recreation and leisure and community participation. Throughout the year, students toured a wide variety of employment sectors learning about various job opportunities in the area. Further, they explored Minnesota and Western Wisconsin’s outdoor hiking and recreational sites.  

Through the help of the Transitions program, two students earned their driver’s permits this year. Student William Johnson received a Medtronic Project SEARCH Internship, where he will get to experience three different types of internships throughout next school year.

Congratulations, graduates!