The relatively new Pathways program at Silver Lake Regional High School is intended to support young adults with disabilities in learning life and vocational skills. The students, who range in age from 18 to 22 years old, have the opportunity to visit community-based work environments through the Pathways Supported Internship Program. Through that program, they are given the opportunity to engage in a variety of work-based activities related to the job site.
Special Education Director Marie Grable introduced the Transition Coordinator for the Pathways program Laura Courage during the Oct. 22 Silver Lake Regional School Committee Meeting. “We are just so fortunate to have the students and the staff members that we have; this program is so exceptional,” Grable said. She credited Courage’s public relations efforts for allowing the program to begin to tuition in students from neighboring communities. Recently, a new student has joined the program from Duxbury.
Courage and three of her eleven students appeared before the Committee virtually. The students were third year Pathways students Adam Brooks and Colin McSherry as well as Robert Silenzi, a second year Pathways student. Courage said that in a normal year there are 13 local job sites that participate in the program but said that only 8 of them are participating this year due to COVID restrictions.
Most recently, students had the opportunity to visit Harbor Media, a leading video services provider for the towns of Hingham and Norwell. In addition to touring the facility and shadowing the employees, the students produced, directed, and edited their own production. The final product was played for the School Committee. The video included student led interviews of their parents as well as a comprehensive overview of the Pathways program.
Speaking on his experience at Harbor Media, Silenzi said his goal was to “become a famous Hollywood screenwriter, mostly for Disney.” He added, “to the people at Pathways, I’m eternally grateful.” Brooks said, “I actually got to feel like a director, I got to lead by being an interviewer and a cameraman, I enjoyed the editing process really well.” McSherry noted, “editing was the most challenging part of the Harbor Media experience.”
After watching the production, Chair of the School Committee said, “That was a brilliant and heartwarming and very informative production. It was superbly done and the young adults that participated were wonderfully articulate… I literally sat here smiling the entire time at it.”
Superintendent Jill Proulx said, “It’s wonderful to see the quality of work that has been produced by your students and we are very proud of them… It’s nice to see them engaged in such relevant and meaningful activities.” She continued, “It is very clear from the video that they are learning and having fun at the same time.”
Courage thanked the Committee and administration for their support saying, “I feel very lucky to be a part of this community and to have such exceptional students and such exceptional support.”