Friday, June 14, 2013

Eliza Graduated from Highline Community College June 12th, 2013! Hip Hip Hooray!

Family and Friends, 

Thanks so much for your well wishes sent to Eliza.:-) Wednesday night was like magic!  13 of us were wildly cheering in the audience at the huge ShoWare Center in Kent, WA as she entered the arena and then later walked across the stage with Jenni Sandler to receive her one year Achieve certificate.  What an accomplishment!!! We were beyond proud of all Eliza has achieved and send a huge THANK YOU to Ashleigh (her Housemate), Erika (her best friend since they were both 5!), Julie and Jenni (two incredible individuals at Highline who have continuously believed 100% in Eliza!) Aunt Trudy, my cousins Janet, Margi and Anna, friends Jim and Grace Crary (from the Greensprings and passing through from Alaska to Oregon!) and Kevin (Erika's finance) for all being there with Wilder, Isaac, Ron and me to watch Eliza reach her dream of both going to and graduating from college!!!  

Here is a link to some photos!  

Eliza and we all will cherish the growth that she has been allowed to experience among her college friends.  As Eliza would say, "College ROCKS!"     

Thank you Highline!!!! 

Thanks to you all for the role each have played in helping Eliza reach this dream.  There will no doubt be many more dreams to come!!!

Eliza and Jenni! Way to go Eliza!

 Sitting with her the crowd!

 500 + of over 1800 HIghline graduates who received degrees and certificates were on hand!!!
 Walking across the stage with Jenni having just received her certificate from Highline Community College President Dr. Jack Bermingham

Eliza sitting with the Achieve cohort

 You did it!  Eliza and Erika

 Deb, Erika, Ashleigh, Ron, Eliza, Ann, Aunt Trudy and Margi...Celebrating!

 Eliza's Excellence in Leadership Award for attending the first Friday leadership workshops each month!
 Back home at her apartment after the big night!
The whole gang eating dinner at Verazzano's in Federal Way
Ashleigh, Eliza and Anna

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Good News!!! Eliza is graduating from Highline Community College!

Greetings all! 
Just wanted to let everyone know that Eliza is graduating from Highline Community College with her one year Achieve Certificate next Wednesday, on June 12th!!!!! We are SO PROUD of all she has achieved this year in college and grateful to the Achieve Program and staff at Highline for their belief in Eliza and support in making this year an incredible one full of personal growth and accomplishments! I'm including some photos of Eliza in some of her Highline classes, around town and with housemate Ashleigh. Eliza has enjoyed taking ceramics, watercolor, newsletter, workplace communication, yoga, Zumba, writing club and cooking club (to name a few!) and successfully navigated caring and cooking for herself (and Ashleigh!) in their apartment! What a gift to be able to grow and learn with your peers and the perfect way to discover your own strengths and path to independence. 
I am putting together a scrapbook of congratulations and well wishes for Eliza and can use your help!. Eliza loves to get mail (and email!) so I encourage you to write a few words to her and send along a picture of yourself to: (and copy me at or mail a note and photo to 1819 S. Kent Des Moines Rd B-2, Des Moines WA, 98198 (or, if after June 12, to 9687 Highway 66, Ashland, OR 97520). She has been deeply touched by the many who have written in support of her efforts to follow her dream of going to college and now that dream, through her persistence and despite significant challenges, has come TRUE! She is looking forward to returning to Oregon and finding a place to live, work and play in Ashland this summer and hopes to perhaps continue doing public speaking to share her story and encourage others to follow their dreams. 
Way to go ELIZA!
Deb Evans (PROUD Mom!) 

At a Mariner's Game!
Glazing her hummingbird in Ceramics class.
Eliza and Ashleigh
Working on her spoonbill painting in watercolor class.

Enjoying a picnic lunch down by the Sound in Des Moines. (by the way, it's not always rainy!) 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Highline 2012 first two weeks

 this is my cat smokey she died in may this year.
this is me visiting High line 
 I just attended the Achieve program  
 this is me and Jenni at the celebration  
 this was my first day of the summer program
this is me and my best friend Erika 
 my first batch of peanut butter cookies
 this is the inside of the house 
 just relaxing at my desk
 the sunset
 this is my new school
 this is the walking path / it hurts my back every day
 this is building 30 / its at the top of the parking lot. 
 pretty flowers 
this is were i take my class 
the parking lot
 beautiful flowers 
this is me at the totem pole go thunder birds! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Thank You!

Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I feel deeply touched and happy to be starting a new school in a new place. i am getting ready for this big step. it's going be hard but it's not alwase easy for other people like me. I have to keep pushing myself and be confident. I met some wonderful new people at Highline. Its a great college. My orientation went great. I got to join the summer institute. it's a 2 week program. I liked it a lot. I even met some nice people. I just can't believe I'm attending a new year. thanks again for writing me. warmly Eliza

Monday, September 17, 2012

Welcome to Highline Community College!

Eliza's LONG AWAITED journey of getting to go to college has finally arrived!  Last Sunday, September 9th, Eliza and I headed north with a car full of stuff en route to Highline Community College in Des Moines, WA. Eliza received confirmation earlier in the summer that she would be WELCOME as a student at Highline as part of their ACHIEVE program and would be able to follow her dream of being a college student and take regular college classes alongside her peers in subjects she is interested in learning.
She worked hard all summer preparing for this transition. Living in her own apartment in Ashland, navigating the Rogue Valley buses and attending her favorite - Zumba classes!- at the Y, all independently.   She wasn't the only one learning either...The rest of us learned that sometimes the best thing we can do is move out of the way a little and let Eliza show us what she is capable of!!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

College Advocacy - Eliza's story continues

As Eliza said in a recent speech...."who thought going to college would be this hard?"  That pretty much sums up Eliza's first months of 2012.  She remains dogged in her determination to re-join her peers in the post secondary world of learning, but it hasn't come without its disappointments.  Eliza applied and set her hopes on attending either Edgewood College in Madison, WI or College of Charleston, in South Carolina.  Both of these colleges we found highly commendable and dedicated to having their students fully integrated - where all students learn from and with each other.

In February, we flew to Madison for a 2nd visit to Edgewood and an interview - a first for Eliza.  I was extremely proud of her ability to describe and answer questions put to her about what she wants from college, how she feels about being so far from home, etc.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Realizing Hopes, Following Dreams and the Ripple Effect!

Wow...what a process!  Just when you think - where is this going to go next? - things shift, someone calls, you adjust and try either to keep your head above water or are buoyed completely by the hard work, kind thoughts and amazing gift of support by others equally dedicated to creating a world where EVERYONE matters, EVERYONE has a role, EVERYONE is valued.  I should have learned by now in the blogging world one shouldn't wait so long to write down what's happening...because when you do, you find there is far too much to say. :-)  None the less, here's a snapshot and some of my thoughts on what has transpired in the last month and... as always... we wish to express a HUGE thank you to so many of you who have touched and continue to touch our lives through Eliza's experience. It has had a most definite and amazing ripple effect!