Jake April ’20
Jake April doesn’t point to a specific class when asked what inspired him during his time at Thames at Mitchell and Mitchell College, but to the people.
“The faculty and staff inspired me because, when I was feeling stressed, their words and confidence would remind me that with a little hard work and determination, I could do anything I put my mind to.”
His hard work and determination has paid off. The soon-to-be 2020 Mitchell College graduate from Long Island, NY, will begin graduate studies in broadcast journalism at Hofstra University this fall. An aspiring sportscaster, Jake also hopes to be a public speaker one day, motivating others to find their passion and live their best life.
His insight is grounded in his own life experience as someone with cerebral palsy. Following high school, Jake attended Thames at Mitchell for a year. This unique program supports the transition to college on a college campus, with deeper individualized academic and social support for students with learning differences and those seeking additional college preparation.
“I’ve had a lot of people in my life who told me I can’t do things. People had doubts about me living independently because I have cerebral palsy, but when I got to Thames, all of the teachers there helped me discover myself, my work ethic, and be the success I am today.”
In addition to the Thames faculty, Jake credits the staff at the Bentsen Learning Center (BLC), which he utilized after transitioning to the four-year program at Mitchell College. At the BLC, Jake met regularly with a learning specialist.
“At first, I wasn’t prepared for my sessions, and my specialist would help me organize my schedule for studying. Now, I come in and know what I want to work on, so I don’t fall behind. Staying organized is key, in all parts of my life, and that will always stick with me.”
Jake discovered his passion for journalism after joining the Mitchell Broadcast Team, where he worked on broadcasting live events, such as Mitchell basketball and baseball games.
“When I got into journalism, I really fell in love with it. It wasn’t work. I joined the Mitchell Broadcast Team, and it helped me figure out what I wanted to do. When I’m broadcasting and doing journalism, I don’t feel disabled. We all have differences. When you find your passion, you feel comfortable with yourself. Each activity you do should have a purpose and make you get out of bed and do it. If not, it is not for you.”
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