Four Corners program helps students prepare for future

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FARMINGTON, N.M. – After graduating from high school, students are often faced with the question – what to do next?

That can be challenging, but if they’re faced with a learning or physical disability, that big question becomes that much harder. However, one program in the Four Corners is helping those students navigate the next steps in life. 

CLEAR Program Director at San Juan College Kymbr Mordecki says her students can accomplish anything they put their minds to.

That’s the main lesson in her classroom.

“CLEAR stands for career, life and engagement readiness and it is geared towards students that have either an intellectual or physical disability,” Mordecki said.

She started CLEAR after she spent six years as a high school teacher.

“I would have students that graduated, and I would see them later and ask, ‘What you are doing?’ and they would say ‘I am doing nothing and I’m sitting at home,’ and that was something that I struggled with,” she said.

So, she helps equip those students with the necessary skills to reach their goals.  

“We talk about, what do you need to do to be more independent,” Mordecki noted. “We have technical skills and that’s where we really talk about how to email, using different applications, how do you format a resume – we really start preparing them.”

For all different areas of life, they even learn simple skills in the kitchen, like how to make a fruit salad. But the real takeaway is how these students have flourished, like Darlene Aagesen, who graduated from the program and now she’s working towards becoming an accountant.

“I have built my confidence through this program,” Aagesen said. “I was really down on myself that I couldn’t do this, or I couldn’t do that but when I got into this program and when I finished it, I had 100% confidence that I could do anything I set my mind to.”

Mordecki said the program is all about helping students realize their potential.

“We have such a wide range of students out there so to be able to provide an opportunity that they would have never had before it’s just something that was in my heart,” Mordecki said.

Mordecki added in the 4 years of the program, they have had 33 graduates. Most of them are either now employed or continuing their education, or even doing both.