Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) graduation ceremonies May 26
Graduation exercises at the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind will be on Thursday, May 26, with the day’s activities beginning at 10 a.m. in Hawkins Chapel with the annual Baccalaureate Service. Speaker for the Baccalaureate service will be Allen Harris, President of Bailey-Harris Construction.
Born in Anniston, Allen graduated from Auburn University in the School of Architecture, Design and Construction. After working nine years for an Auburn general contracting firm, Allen and Jack Bailey formed Bailey-Harris Construction, building throughout the lower southeast for 35 years. Allen is also the founder of the restaurant Maestro 2300 in Moore’s Mill Village, just receiving its sixth Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.
He current serves as President of the AIDB Foundation Board of Directors and is a member of the Alabama Workforce Investment Area Board; Treasurer and Executive Board Member for the Associated Builders & General Contractors of Alabama; and a member of the BBVA Compass Advisory Board. His other interests include fitness, cycling and competitive ballroom dancing.
Alabama School for the Deaf (ASD) Commencement
Commencement exercises at Alabama School for the Deaf will be held at 3:30 p.m. in McFarland Auditorium.
Speaker will be Christopher D. Wagner, President of the National Association of the Deaf. Chris Wagner (Florida), currently vice president of marketing for The Z™, who received a bachelor’s degree from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, NY. Prior to assuming his current role, Chris served as a consultant and as executive director of non-profit agencies in Florida. He has served on numerous boards, including the Florida Association of the Deaf, Inc. (FAD) and the Governor’s Americans with Disabilities Act Working Group (ADAWG). Currently he serves on the board of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and the NTID Foundation Board. Chris is a recipient of several awards for his outstanding leadership and advocacy on both state and national levels.
Valedictorian is Shannon Moon of Wadley and Salutatorian is Xavius Turner of Sylacauga.
Shannon Moon is the daughter of Lynn Sherrer of Wadley, AL. She is currently a member of the web development class, a yearbook member and a student ambassador. Shannon has been a member of the Volleyball Team, Basketball Team, Junior National Association for the Deaf and Student Body Government. She has been a member of the video editing class and Homecoming Court. Shannon will attend Central Alabama Community College after graduation on an academic scholarship to pursue a career in the social services field.
Xavius Turner is the son of Stephine Turner of Tallassee, AL. He is currently a member of the Junior National Association of the Deaf, Senior Class Treasurer, 2015-2016 Dorm Treasurer and 2015-2016 Student Coach for the Football and Basketball teams. He was a member of the Football Team, Basketball Team, Future Business Leaders of America and the video editing class. He is very motivated to succeed in life. Xavius will attend Gallaudet on an academic scholarship after graduation to major in general studies to follow his passions.
Candidates for graduation at ASD are Te’Chana Dunklin of Gardendale, Joshua Edwards of Epes, Quintrell Little of Mobile, Shannon Moon of Wadley, Shermisha Pears of Mobile, Amber Raffel of Hamilton, Tyler Robinson of Mobile, Anthony Scott Jr. of Mobile, Uriah Stallworth of Montgomery, Isaac Stevenson of Dothan, Eddie Thomas of Birmingham and Xavius Turner of Sylacauga.
Alabama School for the Blind (ASB) Commencement
Commencement exercises at the Alabama School for the Blind will be held at 7 p.m. in Oliver Hall Auditorium.
Speaker will be Michael Kirkpatrick, President of DESE Research, Inc., a high technology missile, weapon systems, and NASA R&D small business located in Huntsville. He has a MS in management from UA Huntsville and a BS in business from Auburn. He is a seaplane pilot, an avid boater and a barefoot water skier. Michael serves on the Guntersville Chamber board and is chairman of the Guntersville airport board. He is active with Boy Scouts and serves on the Greater Alabama Scout Council board and as fundraising chairman for the Huntsville/Madison County district. He was honored by Scouting with the “Spirit of the Eagle” award in 2014. Michael is a graduate of Leadership Huntsville and Leadership Alabama. He serves on the Auburn Research Advisory Board, is active in Rotary and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Beta Gamma Sigma, the honorary society of business schools.
Candidates for ASB graduation are Peri LeeAnna Chapman of Columbia, Alexandria Symone Jackson of Alexander City, Andriana Shantel James of Goodwater, Brandi Cecilia Monroe of Section, Tyler Austin Mullinax of Berry, Jacob Anthony Simons of Grand Bay, Timothy Joe Tennery of Tuscumbia, Christian Conrad Theiss of Marion Junction, Altea Tinniehill of Talladega, Zachary Jermaine Townsend of Union Springs and Juwan Akira Williams of Huntsville.
Helen Keller School (HKS) Commencement
Commencement exercises at the Helen Keller School will be held at 1:30 p.m. in Wood Hall Auditorium.
Speaker will be Thomas D’Eri, owner of Rising Tide Carwash in Parkland, Florida. Tom D’Eri is a strong advocate of the movement to empower individuals with autism to turn their natural talents into professional skills. Having seen the struggles that his brother Andrew, a vibrant individual with autism, faced in finding a job, Tom and his father founded the Rising Tide Car Wash. The operation is part of CanDo Business Ventures, a company dedicated to designing, testing and deploying businesses that can provide sustainable employment for adults.
A graduate of Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts with summa cum laude honors in Economics/Finance and a concentration in Earth, Environment and Global Sustainability, Tom has made numerous presentations on his unique business concept. Rising Tide has been featured on NBC Nightly News, in a NationSwell documentary, Forbes magazine, the Miami Herald, Fox Business, MSNBC and other media outlets. He was accepted into the Young Entrepreneurs Council in 2015.
Candidates for graduation at HKS are Kendall Carlisle of Talladega, A’taisha Fletcher of Toney, Paige Gamble of Clanton, Steven Lambert of Birmingham, Diamonds Mitchell of Bessemer, Randall Rudolph of Hayneville, Neil Smith of Mobile, Tykeria Smoot of Talladega and Olivia Leader of Birmingham.
Established in 1858, the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind is America’s most comprehensive provider of education and services to people who are blind, deaf, deaf-blind or have multiple disabilities. Through five campuses in Talladega and eight Regional Centers throughout the state, AIDB provides services to over 23,500 people per year.