We finally have the answer to what Reilly will be doing in the fall. It isn’t exactly what we hoped for, but it’s pretty close, and probably for the best.
We had applied to Mitchell College, a small, four-year school in Connecticut that has a sports management major and a great learning disabilities support program. Mitchell’s admissions committee wasn’t completely convinced that Reilly was ready for a full course load, so they have accepted him into a one-year bridge program that should prepare him better for the rigors of college. If he does well, they might accept him into the college for spring semester. Or he might stay in the Thames Academy  program for the entire year and hope to get into the college the following year.
He’s happy, we’re happy, and we’re hoping that this next year will tell us more about whether a bachelor’s degree is in reach for Reilly.
The NYIT Vocational Independence Program  has served Reilly pretty well for the last two years. But pursuing academics meant traveling to the school’s other campus for college-credit classes. And the communication between the college professors and Reilly’s academic advisor at VIP seemed to be lacking. He did not do well in the business management class he took this last semester, at least partly because he didn’t get (nor did he seek, apparently) the academic supports he needed. He did well in his other credit class, so we’re still hopeful that college is possible.
Thames Academy is located on the edge of the Mitchell campus, in a big, old Victorian house. Dorm rooms are on the upper floors, with classrooms on the main floor. The program is for students who need more help to become college-ready. The students take a variety of classes, including college-credit Sociology and Humanities courses designed to improve writing skills, a college Math class and non-credit classes “to redefine who they are and where they see themselves,” along with improving executive function, according to the Thames website.
Meals and extracurriculars are on the Mitchell campus. And Reilly will have a roommate for the first time. I started to worry about that, but then I reminded myself that living with a roommate is a skill he needs to learn.
Reilly seems to be ready for the new challenge. In a Facebook post, he said he would miss his girlfriend, Ashley, and all his friends at NYIT. He promised to visit them and concluded with “Time to start a new journey in life.” They all wished him well. Ashley is sad, but supportive. Reilly hasn’t been very forthcoming about their discussions, but says they plan to have a long-distance relationship. He’s asked if Ashley can come to our house for a visit this summer. We’ll try to work that out.
It’s an exciting time of transition for our family. Reilly’s sister, Brigid, graduated from college last week, and begins her “new journey in life” as well. Reilly’s brother, Ben, is planning a cross-country move to pursue a music career. For this week, we are all together, celebrating these milestones with a family beach vacation. How many more of these will we get, as our children scatter to where life takes them?
So, today, we toast the next phase of everyone’s journey. Godspeed!