Students and Community Benefit from Transition Program

Students with disabilities are given the opportunity to acquire life-skills through program offered at Coginchaug High School.


It didn't take long for Luke Whalen to fit in at Durham's Kitchen.

The sophomore at has been working at the local restaurant since January as part of the school's transition program, an internship program which gives students with disabilities the opportunity to prepare for life after school.

"By fostering our relationships with these wonderful employers, District 13 has found a vital way for these students to learn independent living, work and community skills, all close to home," says Elizabeth Shoudy, the high school's transition counselor.

Luke's responsibilities at the restaurant include washing and clearing dishes and setting tables.

"I think it's great for Luke," said Durham's Kitchen owner Matt Lockwood. "Now he comes in, a lot of my customers know him. It's definitely good for business and helping [the students] out."

Other students in the community are currently working at , , , ., and Apple Barrel.

In March, Coginchaug junior Ben Szymanski, who participates in the transition program, .

“Without people like Matt Lockwood, my students would not have the opportunity to achieve such success” says Shoudy.


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