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10 Community Transition Program students get Wildcat surprise

Posted December 10, 2014

Ten students in the TUSD Community Transition Program thought they were going to the University of Arizona for a final admittance interview on Wednesday, December 9. Shortly after they arrived with their families, they learned the true purpose of the visit: They were all accepted to the university.

The Community Transition Program works with students with intellectual disabilities. The 10 students will be dual enrolled in the University of Arizona Project FOCUS and TUSD as part of a collaborative effort to have more students with intellectual disabilities participate in higher education opportunities.

Ronald Marx, dean of the College of Education, with the help of Wilma the Wildcat, presented the students with their acceptance letters as proud, tearful parents hugged each other and cheered for their children.

Dr. Marx told the future Wildcats that they will be part of something big. "You are 10 of 41,000 students at the University of Arizona. And no more important students than you are on campus, so we want to congratulate you again on being admitted."

Scott Hodgkinson, father of future Wildcat Kristine Hodgkinson, said "It's the culmination of a lot of hard work that she has done," he said. "It's great that there are programs out there for these young kids that try so hard and are able to do what they can do."

The students will have the opportunity to complete a two-year program and graduate with a Service Learning Certificate. In addition to academic coursework, students are provided with instructional supports related to campus life, employment and self-determination.

Terry Gale, father of Tristan Gale, said it is wonderful that his son is going to college, and it is very important that he is going to the University of Arizona. "He has always wanted to be a Wildcat," Mr. Gale said.

A.J. Perez is a senior at Sahuaro High School who said he is very happy about going to college. His father, Rudy Perez, said it's an honor to have his son in the program. "We were praying for this experience. He's an outgoing person. He likes see, venture out. He will make a lot of friends here."

 Photo of student
Student Tristan Gale learns he'll be a wildcat.
Photo of parent
Scott Hodgkinson (father), Kerry Hodgkinson (mother)
and Kristine Hodgkinson (daughter)
 Photo of student
Kelly Krebbs learns hear child was accepted into the program.
 Photo of student
Rudy Perez (father), Sonsee Perez (mother) and AJ Perez (student)