On May 6th, 2022, students from The Arc Jacksonville’s On Campus Transition (OCT) program walked in the University of North Florida’s traditional graduation ceremony for the first time since the program’s inception in 2006.

Prior to 2022, OCT students graduated in a small ceremony, separate from the rest of the UNF graduating class. Then UNF student, Analysse Harmon, began volunteering with The Arc Jacksonville and serving as a “Best Buddy” for OCT student Matt. Analysse decided that she wanted to advocate for her buddy, Matt, and all other OCT students to be included in graduation.

Analysse started a petition and obtained over 700 signatures, as well as letters of support from dozens of UNF professors.

In 2020, UNF faculty voted to allow OCT students to participate in the commencement ceremony moving forward, beginning with the Class of 2022!

Analysse and Matt

OCT Class of 2022

The 2022 graduating class included Rebecca Barnett, Christian Bloomfield, Kestrel Bush, Alec Pequignot, Marston Weiss, Dorian Patterson, Henry Curran, Ja’nya Jordan, Madeline (Maddie) McQuade, Maxwell (Max) Kren, and Jared McGhee.

Since 2006, 78 students have graduated from OCT, many of whom traveled from all across the country to participate in this innovative program. During the 2021-2022 school year, 29 students were enrolled in OCT.

During their time in OCT, students follow a unique and customized plan for achievement focused on academics, career development, personal growth, and learning independent living skills. Many 2022 graduates have already secured employment and are planning on living independently in the community post-graduation.

About On Campus Transition
On Campus Transition (OCT) was established in 2006 in partnership with the University of North Florida to provide students with intellectual differences a more traditional, post-secondary education. Students become immersed in all aspects of college life by auditing courses, joining organizations and clubs, and participating in recreational activities available to all UNF students. Click here to learn more about OCT!