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Summer for Succes Commencement

The adage tells us that all good things must end.

Yet for the 30-plus students who gathered Thursday night at the Leesburg Marina, the culmination of Beacon College’s 2016 Summer for Success program seemed more like a new beginning.

Students with learning differences came from across the country and Ecuador who wondered whether they could cut it in college. After their intensive three-week immersion into college life and studies, many see new scholastic prospects on the horizon.

“I felt so lucky to be a part of this program, getting to work with students like myself and provide them with voice and opportunity I didn’t have at that age,” said Andrew Marvin, a graduate of Beacon College, the first higher-education institution accredited to award bachelor’s degrees primarily to students who learn differently. “Knowing that what we did could ensure a small part of their success, that they got to gain one more tool in their kit when entering their junior or senior year … I got choked up,” added Marvin, who now serves as Beacon’s assistant director of admissions. “I got emotional, and I proudly hugged and shook hands with the lot of them.”

Summer for Succes Commencement 2  Students socialized and smiled for farewell photos before bellying up for a formal dinner prepared ty Sodexo, the college’s new dining partner.

After dinner, Summer for Success faculty and staff addressed students, as did Beacon President George Hagerty. Later, students received certificates commemorating each student’s personal investment and perseverance.

Tears and hugs closed the book on a successful summer chapter.

“For the students and their instructors, this was a bittersweet moment,” Hagerty said. “All were delighted by the success of the program and its outcomes, but saddened to be concluding their time together on campus.”