The awards ceremony for graduating seniors of BCIU’s Preparation for Adult Life (PAL) program was held on Thursday, May 26, at Berks Career and Technology Center, East Campus.

PAL Graduates

(pictured left to right)

  • Michael Youst | Exeter Township
  • Kimberly Harner | Oley Valley
  • Christopher Murry | Daniel Boone Area
  • Sean Kleinhenz | Fleetwood Area
  • Christopher Reichart | Wilson
  • Andrew Strangarity | Conrad Weiser Area
  • Sarah Long | Exeter Township
  • Monica Grim | Brandywine Heights Area
  • Clayton Bentley | Schuylkill Valley
  • Brian Simpson-Vargas | Fleetwood Area (not pictured)

Located at the Berks Career and Technology Center (BCTC), East Campus, the Preparation for Adult Life (PAL) program offers secondary students with special needs a school-based vocational training education. PAL provides job training, community experiences, and the means to achieve independent living for young adults with mental and physical disabilities. Students who may have reached their academic potential but are not ready to leave school or who may require support in an employment setting may be eligible for the program.


The awards ceremony for graduating seniors of BCIU’s Project SEARCH program was held on Friday, May 17, at East Penn Manufacturing Co., Inc. (Deka). Four students received their diplomas and have successfully secured employment.

Project SEARCH Graduates

(pictured left to right)

  • Johan Medina | Muhlenberg School District – Hired at Goodwill in the Distribution Center
  • Tristan Krajewski | Hamburg Area School District – Hired at Lowe’s in Hamburg in the Tool Department
  • Seth Bednar | Governor Mifflin School District – Hired at East Penn in the Injection Molding 1 plant (3rd shift) in the Caseline Department
  • Angelo Derenzo | Hamburg Area School District – Hired at East Penn in the Injection Molding 2 plant (2nd shift) in the Lead Insertion Department. Both Seth and Angelo participated in internships in the departments where they were hired.

Project SEARCH is a unique one-year educational program for students with disabilities in their last year of high school. It is targeted for students whose main goal is competitive employment.

The program currently takes place in the East Penn Manufacturing Company, Inc. (Deka) in Lyon Station, PA, where total immersion in the workplace facilitates the teaching and learning process through continuous feedback and application of new skills. The presence of this program can bring about long-term changes in business culture that have far-reaching positive effects on attitudes about hiring people with disabilities and the range of jobs in which they can be successful.