Meet the Perry Sisters!

Navigating College
Sisters Ellie and Savannah have just finished their freshman year of college at Mount Vernon Nazarene University (MVNU) and now proudly go by the description of sophomores. Completing the first year of college is an accomplishment for every college student. For Ellie and Savannah, their first year was a first for MVNU as well. The Perry sisters attended their freshman year with their provider, something no MVNU student has ever done before.

Ellie, Savannah, and their brother Will are triplets. When the time came to choose a college, the family searched for a school that would fit all three of their interests and needs. Before applying to MVNU, the family met with the Office of Student Success to talk about the accommodations Ellie and Savannah would need at school. “The college was very accommodating. They coordinated the classes Ellie and Savannah had in common so that they could share their provider when possible,” explained their mom, Michelle.

Once they determined MVNU was going to be a good fit for all three, the next step was managing the tuition. “We didn’t think it would be possible to send three children to MVNU,” said Michelle. Through a combination of academic and community scholarships, 82% of Savannah and Ellie’s tuition was covered. The scholarships lifted the final barrier for the Perry family allowing all three to attend MVNU.

Both Savannah and Ellie were happy to report it was a successful freshman year. Savannah achieved the Dean’s list both semesters and Ellie was published in the spring edition of the MVNU Literary Journal. Savannah is majoring in psychology and Ellie is majoring in English. We asked them both what surprised them about their first year of college. Ellie shared, “I was nervous to meet new people and I was surprised how quickly I made good friends.”  Savannah shared, “People have been really nice. I wasn’t sure what it’d be like.”

What’s next?
While Ellie and Savannah are enjoying some time off school, they’ve signed up to take a few classes over the summer. In the fall, Ellie has applied for a job in the writing lab to help other students with academic writing. Both Savannah and Ellie are taking their commitment to school seriously.

When they graduate college, Savannah hopes to be a counselor for children and teens at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. As for Ellie, she would love to be a published writer. But, if that does not work out, she plans to manage a company’s social media account. There’s no doubt that these girls are going places!

Advice to Future Students
We asked Ellie what advice she would give to a high school student who wants to go to college. She said, “Work hard, get good grades, and apply for scholarships. It’s not just about your ACT score.”

Similarly, we asked Savannah what advice she would give to a student with a disability who would like to attend college. She said, “Show people what you can do. Don’t be discouraged by your limitations.”

What do you wish people knew about you?
Ellie shared that she wished people understood more about Asperger Syndrome. “People make assumptions that it’s like Autism. If people understood Aspergers better, people would understand why I act the way I do,” Ellie explained.

“I wish people would realize she’s [Savannah] not stupid,” Ellie shared. “People in the mall will talk to her like she’s a little kid. She’s fully capable!” Savannah agreed with Ellie wishing that more people understood just how capable she really is.

What is your favorite thing about your sister?
Savannah smiled and said, “She makes me laugh a lot. Some of the things she says are just so funny.” The girls looked at each other and giggled. Their connection and friendship is undeniable. Ellie shared, “I like that she doesn’t let her disability get her down. I admire how smart she is. She makes me laugh too.”

How has the County Board supported your family?
“Receiving support from the Board has helped our children not just survive but thrive. I truly believe it has allowed them to get where they are,” explained Michelle.

Meet Matthew!

Matthew, a junior at Olentangy has reached an exciting milestone in his life. After many hours of practice and hard work, Matthew passed his driving exam! Matthew enrolled in an intense driving program where he practiced with an instructor once a week for two hours over a 9-month period. When we asked how it felt to finally hold his driver’s license he said, “it feels great!”

In addition to celebrating his recent achievement, Matthew is looking forward to the start of summer in a few weeks. Like most high school students, he has been studying hard for his final exams. Matthew’s favorite subject in school is biology because he loves learning about living things. While biology is his favorite subject, his reading teacher Mr. Kirk is his favorite teacher. Mr. Kirk spends extra time with Matthew to make sure he understands the material the class is currently covering. The two have even formed a special bond over their mutual love for Star Wars and video games.

Matthew keeps busy outside of school too. He really enjoys participating in Service Club activities. “They’re always lots of fun and we get to help people,” he said. In addition to giving back to the community, Matthew likes to swim. Matthew has been swimming since third grade and is a member of the YMCA club team. His best events are the backstroke and freestyle.

While Matthew is looking forward to summer for a break from school, he will keep busy working at Meijer for the second summer in a row.

So, what’s next for Matthew? Next year he will be gearing up for graduation and applying for college. At the moment, he’s thinking about The Ohio State University or Columbus State. His goal is to become a fitness trainer working for the NFL or the NBA. As a major LeBron James fan, he wouldn’t mind getting to work for the Cleveland Cavaliers!

When we asked Matthew what advice he would give to younger kids he said, “Never give up – just don’t ever give up!” Matthew has seen what can happen with hard work and perseverance and is a great role model for other kids. “When he makes his mind up to do something, he can do it,” shared his mom. “After he received his license he was beaming because he was so excited.”

Congratulations on your big achievement, Matthew! We look forward to seeing where you go next!

Meet Will!

Will is 10 years old and loves Taekwondo and was determined to achieve his black belt. After his most recent class, Will successfully completed his test and now is a 1st Degree Black Belt Recommended! When we asked him what his favorite part of practice is he confidently answered, “round kicks!”

Will enjoys reading comic books, swimming, and conducting science experiments at school. His most recent experiment was the fizzy volcano. When Will grows up he wants to be a scientist whose experiments help people.

When Will’s parents first learned about his diagnosis they were overwhelmed and did not know where to start. After connecting with DCBDD, they were assigned an SSA who was able to offer guidance and support.

Will has made great progress over the last few years and was proud to share he’s receiving all A’s and B’s in school! “We don’t see much holding him back anymore,” shared his parents.

We look forward to watching Will continue to learn and grow. We can’t wait to see what experiment he comes up with next!