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July 2014 Graduate Class

Posted July 19th, 2014

July 2014 Graduate Class

Thank you to the very special people supporting this month’s graduation:

Meet our Residential Graduates
Ashley and Fuller
Carly and Brinkley
Abby and Kathy
Mary Abby and Kylie
Sarah and Darien
Emmanuel and Dallas
Aron and Fairfax
Gloria and Silo
Ricardo Scarello and Pakse

Many thanks to our instructors
Melinda Angstrom, Class Supervisor
Erik Wright, Class Instructor
Alyssa Tilley, Class Instructor
Andrea Martine, Special Needs Instructor
Will Kruse, Instructor Assistant

Ashley and FullerAshley and Fuller

Ashley was matched with her second guide dog, a male yellow Labrador named Fuller. Her vision loss was caused by retinopathy of prematurity.

Ashley will start her junior year at Berea College with Fuller by her side. Her studies – double majors in Spanish and French – take up much of her time yet she has many hobbies; she enjoys crochet and to take long walks. She loves to listen to music, as well as to read, swim, cycle and spend time with friends. Ashley hopes to qualify for a program that will allow her and Fuller to spend seven months living in Europe, immersed in the language and culture of her degree program. Ashley shares, “This is a new beginning. I trust Fuller and have confidence in myself – this is the basis for our success.”

Congratulations to Fuller’s puppy raisers – the Weronski Family!

Carly and BrinkleyCarly and Brinkley

Carly is 17 and starts her senior year of high school in South Carolina this September. She received male yellow Lab Brinkley, her first guide dog.

Carly was fitted with a cochlear implant at 16 months old. A routine eye exam that accompanied her driver’s license test revealed vision loss, and soon after Carly was diagnosed with Usher’s Syndrome. She has central vision with very limited contrast.

Carly is an avid water-skier, competitive cheerleader and runner. She is excited to introduce Brinkley to her pet dog Wiley, an Irish Setter/Labrador mix; she believes they will become fast friends and playmates.

Congratulations to Brinkley’s puppy raisers – the Carey Family!

Abby and KathyAbby and Kathy

Abby will return home to Ohio with yellow Lab Kathy. They will be juniors in high school, and Abby’s coursework will include college level classes. She plans to attend Wright State University and to major in psychology, with specialties in child psych, chronic illness and disability.

Abby has familial oxidative vitreous retinopathy and osteoporosis-pseudoglioma syndrome; she has been blind since the eighth grade. Her hobbies include reading, listening to music, writing fiction, spending time with friends and working out. Attending a workshop on guide dogs was the turning point for Abby. She already feels a very strong bond with Kathy, who absolutely loves to play tug.

Congratulations to Kathy’s puppy raisers – Darlene and Brian Jacobs!

Mary Abby and KylieMary Abby and Kylie

Mary Abby moved from the Philippines for treatment of bilateral retinoblastoma. This fall, she’ll start her freshman year at Rhode Island College with an elementary education major and a concentration in teaching students who are visually impaired. Yellow Lab Kylie will accompany her to classes.

Mary Abby loves to read and enjoys listening to music and writing. Kylie brings the independence and companionship Mary Abby has wanted for a long time. She is looking forward to sharing her educational experience with Kylie and is confident they will inspire others. She shares a training experience, “We had our first traffic check today and it was amazing. [During a ‘traffic check,’ guide dogs stop or back up to avoid a car that has approached too closely.] I know she will keep me safe when we start college in September.”

Congratulations to puppy raiser Carol Bachanan!

Sarah and DarienSarah and Darien

Sarah learned about Guiding Eyes from her mom, also a Guiding Eyes grad. This month she was matched with male yellow Lab Darien; they’ll return home to Oklahoma.

Sarah’s vision loss is caused by a hereditary condition known as Aniridia Nystagmus. She has some peripheral vision and most of what she sees is “like looking backwards through a pair of binoculars.” She starts her junior year of high school in September. Her focus is in theatre and she will take college courses and AP English in addition to her core schedule for the year. When she isn’t studying, Sarah enjoys skydiving and long walks. She is very active with her church and believes she and Darien are destined to make a difference. Her younger sister and brother are excited to meet Darien and welcome him to the family.

Congratulations to Darien’s puppy raisers – Lauren Fleischer, Alexandra Scott, Madeline Docimo and Erin Murphy Snedecor!

Emmanuel and DallasEmmanuel and Dallas

Emmanuel received male black Lab Dallas through the Special Needs Program. They will return to California where his son and daughter eagerly await their return.

Emmanuel completed high school in the Philippines and has bachelors’ degrees in computer information systems and psychology. He aspires to be an adaptive technology instructor and an advocate for children and young adults with disabilities. He believes it’s important not to allow extended limitations to be placed on people with vision or hearing loss. His hobbies include music, board games, cards and sailing.

Dallas has already made a difference. He’s making it much easier for Emmanuel to travel safely; his steady gait even mitigates some of Emmanuel’s balance issues.

Congratulations to puppy raisers Miriam and Sean Grogan!

Aron and FairfaxAron and Fairfax

Aron is a native New Yorker with six children, seven grandchildren and another on the way. Male yellow Labrador Fairfax is his first guide dog.

Aron grew up playing sports. His left eye was scratched during a basketball game and this eventually caused retinal detachment. He later injured his right eye playing touch football and became legally blind. At first, Aron didn’t want to leave the house because he didn’t want to be viewed as different from anyone else. A friend found him a job working with children with disabilities and one particular boy made him realize that his life wasn’t over – just changed.

He now works with an advocacy agency and specializes in social security law and employment benefits advisement. He shares meeting Fairfax, “He came right up to me and licked my face. My dream for the past three years is now fulfilled.”

Congratulations to Fairfax’s puppy raisers – the Woodward Family and the Markoya Family!

Gloria and SiloGloria and Silo

Gloria is matched with her first guide dog – female black Labrador Silo. They return home to Washington where she’ll begin her junior year at Western Washington University with majors in seismology/geophysics and volcanology.

Gloria was born totally blind and regained limited vision through cornea transplants. She attended a school for the blind for a brief period but mainly attended mainstream schools. She enjoys hiking, competitive public speaking, swimming, Special Olympics track, power lifting, tandem cycling, climbing trees and eating sushi. Gloria is the oldest of a Spanish speaking family and learned English watching Animal Planet. She is fluent in two languages and wants to learn Japanese. Her future plans include a doctorate in seismology and geophysics and a career monitoring earthquakes and volcanoes around the world.

Congratulations to Silo’s puppy raisers – the McMains Family!

Ricardo and PakseRicardo and Pakse

Ricardo lives in Massachusetts with his wife and five year old daughter. Male black Labrador Pakse is his first guide dog.

Ricardo has retinitis pigmentosa and his vision was affected in his early twenties. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems and operates a home computer and repair service. He plays guitar, likes sports and is an avid baseball fan. Summer finds him tending the garden and growing lettuce, tomatoes and radishes.

He plans to return to the University of Massachusetts for a master’s degree in human resources information services. He is looking forward to the structure and motivation Pakse brings. “It’s easy to get down and be isolated,” he shares, “but he’s a motivator. He keeps me safe and takes care of me, and I take care of him.” He looks forward to seeing how his life will unfold.

Congratulations to puppy raisers David Soha and the Sen Family!