On Star Wars Day, Saturday, May 4, 2019, Ancilla congratulated a class of 142 graduate candidates. But though this was one of the largest graduating classes in the history of the college, one student, in particular, stood out.
Michael Eads, pictured above, is a special graduate from Ancilla College. Though he is an exemplary student and received the Humanities Division honors award, it is not just his grades that set him apart from his classmates. Michael is one of the first graduates of APAC, the Autism Program of Ancilla College. APAC is a fee-based, college-level program designed to assist students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder build academic independent, social and workplace skills and knowledge. It was started at Ancilla two years ago and Michael is the first of the graduates of the program.
According to the website, “APAC is intended for students who may struggle with communication and social interactions in an educational environment, but are also academically capable of pursuing a college level education.” Communication is a challenge that Michael himself admits he is faced with, but ironically, this was his favorite subject at Ancilla. “It pushed me outside of my paradigm and made rethink how I interact with other people, “ he said.
Even though he found a new interest in communications, he will continue (hopefully at Bethel University) to study digital arts. He has an affinity for Godzilla and Japanese Anime Art and opes to be able to work in doing digital effects in film.
As a student, Michael is one that professors enjoy in the classroom. Professor of History, Dr. Thomas Buchanan stated, “He has what I call intellectual curiosity and has many interests. He is very diligent in his responsibilities and, accordingly, has excellent attendance and participation.” I have also had Michael in my classes several times and was always happy to see his name on the roster. He fueled classroom discussions with his insight and knowledge and I wish I had more students like him.
For Kristen Robson, director of APAC, Michael is special as well. “Michael is exactly the type of student this program was designed for. “ With the achievement of Michael Eads, it not only shows that this program works, but it also shows that it can truly help students move in the future successfully.
– Chad Kerbdle, Assistant Professor of English