EAST HANOVER, NJ — West Orange High School students were recently among the 100 students with disabilities to be invited to Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation’s East Hanover campus for its 12th annual Disability Mentoring Day.
During the event, local colleges, companies and a disability a non-profit with strong inclusion policies presented information on the resources and support they provide to students with disabilities so that the students could learn about the choices and opportunities available to them after high school.
This year’s keynote speaker—character designer, animator and illustrator Joshua Leonard—introduced the students to “Team Supreme,” his unique team of superheroes whose disabilities become their superpowers. He shared his personal story about how throughout his life, he persevered when faced with adversity and challenges. The participating students contributed to the design of a superhero and witnessed his creative process.
“Disability Mentoring Day is about inspiring students to design their future,” said Victor Bulto, 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.”
Joshua Leonard told the students that they can do anything they can imagine.
“Nobody can be you,” he said. “Find your own superpower and be yourself.”
National Disability Mentoring Day is sponsored nationally by the American Association of People with Disabilities.