Alumnus Andrew Maggio shared advice and highlights of his post-graduation experience with students in the Tappan Zee High School COVE program and other Rockland BOCES district-based programs at TZHS today.
Andrew, a 2012 TZHS COVE grad, enrolled in the College of St. Rose’s College Experience Program “to learn and gain life experience.” He cites Temple Grandin as an inspiration. “Since TZHS and Rockland BOCES, I’ve learned to experience life,” he told students. “The world didn’t end. I went to the College of St. Rose. There were opportunities and acceptance. It taught me to be independent. We all need to become independent…Even if you don’t live with your parents, they’re still there to support and love you.”
During the two-year, college-based program, Andrew learned to cook, clean, use public transportation and keep his finances in check. “You have to balance between spending on needs and wants,” he advised. He also got involved with clubs, attended college sports events and festivals–and became a regular blood donor (19 donations to date!).
Andrew credits his confidence in addressing crowds to a college public speaking course. “When I started, I was very shy and inexperienced. But once I enrolled in the class, I was able to improve, focus on my audience and share my experience like I’m doing today.”
“He had a lot of struggles and realized after he left COVE how much he had learned,” reflected Rockland BOCES COVE teacher Bonnie McCort. “Hearing Andrew talk about his experience is important for students in the same situation he was once in so that they can see positive futures for themselves. Parents should know that our students can have typical experiences and find happiness and fulfillment after they graduate.”
Andrew graduated from the CEP in 2014 and lives in his own apartment in Albany. He currently works at Marshall’s and is seeking a second job with the state government.
“I always try to maintain a ‘can do’ attitude.’ There are opportunities for you after you graduate from COVE. All you have to do is keep pushing yourself. People may push you down, but you’ve got to get back up. Just keep pushing, pushing, pushing until you reach your goals.”
During his visit, Andrew also spoke with health classes about autism.