Former New York Gov. David Paterson recently visited the Le Moyne campus to address the first graduates of STRIVE, a pre-college program for visually impaired students.
The program, funded by a grant from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (NYSOCFS), was run by Aurora of Central New York, an organization that advocates for the visually and hearing impaired, in partnership with Le Moyne’s Office of Disability Support Services. Over the course of four weeks, the 16 students enrolled in STRIVE took college-level coursework and experienced life on the Le Moyne campus, living in the residence halls, eating in the LaCasse Dining Center, and spending some free time at the Recreation Center.
The goal of the program is to prepare these young men and women to make the transition from high school to college, said Roger Purdy, director of disability support services at the College. The students, who ranged in age from 17 to 18, took an introductory psychology course on campus as well as a writing course online; they tried their hand at activities such as fencing; and they cultivated their time- management and study skills.
But as Paterson emphasized during his remarks at the STRIVE commencement, the students also learned to be independent, to problem solve, and to effectively advocate for themselves. “Success in not measured in values or resources or nominally,” said the former governor, who has been legally blind since childhood. “Success just means you got up one more time than you got knocked down.”
Le Moyne was the site of one of only two STRIVE programs in the state. Because the NYSOCFS grant is for five years, Le Moyne will continue to house the STRIVE program though 2017.