There wouldn’t be many people at Humber College North campus on a Saturday, but on Mar. 5, hundreds of CICE graduates and current students attended the CICE reunion.
The gathering was the first for the Community Integration through Co-operative Education program, a program at Humber since 1984 and designed for adults with developmental disabilities to experience the college life and develop skills for further schooling, work, home and community.
Melanie Savoia, one of the three coordinators of the event and a facilitator for the program, was very pleased with the response.
“We’re really, really happy with the turnout today. It took months, months of sleepless nights and no weekends, no lunches for the last few weeks. Silvia McMillan, Deana Marusic-Ljubicic, and myself have been working tirelessly to coordinate this event. But we couldn’t have done it without the support of the team. Everybody has been helping out to put this event together. It seems to be a huge success,” said Savoia.
Many entertainment systems and games were provided for the students and alumni. There were huge basketball hoops almost as tall as the ceiling in the Student Centre, a big Connect Four game, jumbo Jenga, costumes for pictures, game consoles and prizes for the attendees.
Nemila Persaud, who graduated from the CICE program in 1995, said the event was “very active [and] very colourful.”
Anne Sophia Dorante, CICE graduate in 2012, renewed connections.
“The highlight of my night is reuniting with my former friends and to meet new people. The event is a great way to be reunited and to mingle with people who you’d never thought was a CICE student,” said Dorante.
After she graduated from the program, Dorante went back to school to study in the early childhood education program. She is currently working at a francophone daycare.
“I learned how to be a role model, to believe in myself, my dreams and goals, [how to] achieve them and to succeed in life,” said Dorante.
“Trying to go back 30 years and gathering people who have graduated and trying to find out if they’re correct addresses and getting every little aspect right was hard, but it was fun,” said Marusic-Ljubicic, one of the day’s organizers.
The coordinators were able to contact former students using a binder that had the contact information of former and current students.
“There was a lot of invitations that got sent back… because people had moved and not let us know, which is unfortunate because I think a lot of people would have loved to be part of this event,” said Savoia.
Even though not all former students were able to attend, McMillan, another CICE facilitator, said she was “absolutely thrilled about the turnout.”
“It is so amazing to see so many students from many years ago. Everyone is excited, everyone is having so much fun. It’s wonderful,” said McMillan.
“I’ve been here for 10 years, so going back seeing all the students I’ve worked with 10 years ago and hearing about what they’re doing, to catch up with them and see what’s going on with them is just amazing,” said Marusic-Ljubicic.
The event began on the main floor of the Learning Resource Common for an hour for people to get settled, then the event was moved to the Student Centre for students to have fun with the games and for some snacks. At around 6 p.m. the event moved to LinX Lounge for food and drinks. The reunion finished at 11 p.m.