EAST HANOVER, NJ - Welcoming nearly 100 students with disabilities to its campus from a dozen New Jersey schools -- including a group from Summit High School -- Novartis recently hosted its 12th annual 'Disability Mentoring Day', an event that sees area colleges, companies, and a non-profit with strong inclusion policies present information on the resources and support they provide to students with disabilities so that the students can learn about the choices and opportunities available to them after high school.  

The Day's keynote speaker was character designer, animator, and illustrator Joshua Leonard, who introduced the students to Team Supreme, his unique team of super heroes whose disabilities become their superpowers. He shared his personal story about how throughout his life, he persevered when faced with adversity and challenges.

Leonard told the students, “You can do anything you can imagine. Nobody can be you. Find your own superpower and be yourself.”

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The students were captivated as they contributed to the design of a superhero and witnessed Leonard's creative process. 

“Disability Mentoring Day is about inspiring students to design their future,” said Victor Bul to, President of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. “Joshua Leonard’s perseverance and creativity inspired the students. His work helps students focus on their strengths so that they can imagine the education and work possibilities available to them after high school.”

National Disability Mentoring Day is sponsored nationally by the American Association of People with Disabilities.