The College of the Rockies is offering a very unique group of students more than just an education.
What is affectionately known as the Sunshine Group, this group of three special needs students is part of the AB Fundamentals program at COTR.
Not only are they learning fundamental skills like writing through this valuable program, they are also gaining a sense of accomplishment, and a sense of community.
“They can accomplish so much more than people realize,” said Betty Holland, an educational assistant with the group.
Art is a major component of what they do at the college, and all three students had pieces in the recent Art Show on the campus.
“They were so proud of what they had done, and people were just amazed,” said Holland.
AB Fundamentals instructor Laura Cankovic says the program allows for more variety for the students. And even though some of the art techniques need to be adapted to accommodate a range in motor skills, the students love working with a variety of artistic mediums.
“It’s such an important part of their self esteem, the sense of accomplishment they get here,” said Cankovic.
“The art aspect of this program is just amazing,” said Jared Kotyk, another educational assistant. “You sort of guide them, but they’re still doing it all on their own. So you get to see what they’re thinking, and what’s going on inside. It’s just great.”
The Sunshine group is involved in many activities outside of the college, but both Holland and Kotyk say they always look forward to going to school.
“The routine and stability they get here is so important. They get to be part of the community, and everyone around here knows their names and says hello. It’s just wonderful,” said Holland.