Laurel Oaks students, partners honored including Bush Auto


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A Laurel Oaks student and several local businesses were honored last week with Exceptional Achievement Awards by the Hopewell Center in Hillsboro. Several others were also nominated by Laurel Oaks staff.

Mark Bush and Angie Howell at Bush Auto in Wilmington were recognized for an extraordinary mentorship of a student with special needs.

They offered support for his job after hours and on holidays with job coaching. They took time to talk him through challenges he was having in his life. They helped the student to purchase a care to be able to drive to work.

They brought the entire Bush Auto staff together to support this student on his job and with personal challenges.

“Bush Auto became a second family support to help him get started in training in mechanics and job skills,” read the nomination.

Hillsboro McDonald’s manager Elaine Shoemaker received an Exceptional Achievement Award. She worked with Laurel Oaks CareerX instructor to ensure that a student with special needs had a good transition to a job at McDonalds. She met with the parent and student personally to make sure that she understood the basics of work, assisted and supported the student with one-one-one training, and became a trainer and mentor to the student.

Daniel Detty, an Industrial Diesel Mechanics student from Miami Trace, was also recognized. Detty was nominated by staff members from Miami Trace High School for his outstanding work at Laurel Oaks.

Instructional aide Jacqueline McLarty and student Alexis Houser were also nominated by Laurel Oaks staff for Exceptional Achievement Awards.

McLarty is the instructional aide for the CareerX program. When the pandemic caused classes to become remote, she helped to develop instructional materials that met students’ unique needs and, as students returned to the classroom this year, she works with them on life skills and other essential activities.

Alexis Houser was nominated by instructor Josh Wulff for her extraordinary efforts to grow and improve throughout the past year. “Her work ethic and independence have been the main reason her grades have improved so much over the course of the last year. Plus she did this during a pandemic, when schedules are messed up and you have learn virtually,” he wrote.

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