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The Cardinal Column

The Cardinal Column

photo courtesy of IMDb (2024)
Mean Girls
February 26, 2024

Gainesville Student Becomes a Trailblazer, Provides After-School Opportunities for Disabled Students

To bridge the gap in extracurricular opportunities for students with intellectual or social disabilities, Junior Tate Jordan is spearheading a groundbreaking event that aims to open doors to post-high school career possibilities.
Jordan’s initiative involves presentations by Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) such as FBLA, FCCLA, Educators Rising, and HOSA. The event, designed for self-contained disabled students, focuses on educating them about various post-high school career paths. The setup included four stations, each dedicated to a different CTSO, providing information on joining, benefits, and opportunities.
Socially and intellectually disabled students often have limited exposure to students in the rest of the school. This leads them to have less knowledge about events and clubs they can participate in, negatively affecting their odds of going to college.
“These clubs and these opportunities increase the chance of employment after high school, employment, and more opportunities for post-secondary education and employment,” Jordan said, underlining the potential impact of participation.
Motivated by his own experiences with visual impairments, Jordan emphasizes the need to break the isolation faced by students with disabilities and boost their involvement in such organizations.
“As a person with disabilities, I was unaware of these opportunities earlier in life. So they know opportunities they have, I believe these students should have opportunities to engage in clubs

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that interest them,” Jordan said, “Engaging in clubs will increase their odds of getting into college.”
For Jordan, this is the first time he has organized a CTSO. He hopes that doing more of these information sessions can greatly help the disabled student population across the county.
Jordan plans to focus on encouraging disabled students to participate in clubs during middle school. He believes that the earlier students are aware of club offerings, the quicker they can get involved in career opportunities. “I’m working with the director of student activities of Prince William County Schools to establish CTSOs across Prince William County,” Jordan said.
There is growing optimism about the potential impact of increased awareness and engagement for students with disabilities.
“Students can achieve big things if they’re made aware of opportunities that they didn’t know about,” Jordan said. Jordan, along with these students’ parents, hope that CTSO awareness can become less of a rarity in special education classrooms.
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