EAST HANOVER, NJ – Madison High School special needs students participated in the 10th annual Disability Mentoring Day on Oct. 18, National Disability Mentoring Day. 

Novartis hosted the annual event at its East Hanover campus to help students with special needs learn how to successfully transition from high school to college and into the workforce. The theme for this year’s program was tenacity, or determination.

“You’ll hit obstacles you’ll need to go around or over to achieve your goals,” said keynote speaker Dr. Paul Wichansky, a motivational speaker and author who was born with cerebral palsy and hearing loss. “Stay focused on positivity and hope. Don’t give up; find another way to reach your goal. 

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Students participated in an interactive college and career fair with nearby colleges and universities known to uphold strong inclusion practices and companies that hire those with disabilities. 

A panel made up of Kean University students and alumni discussed experiences with college and seeking employment with more than 100 attendees. 

“Disability Mentoring Day celebrates students with disabilities and the tenacity that they exhibit every day,” said Caryn Parlavecchio, head of U.S. country human resources at Novartis.  

“Their determination and persistence are the keys to their success,” she said. “We hope that the students are excited about the opportunities available to them and were inspired by Dr. Wichansky and the Kean University student and alumni.”