Senior News Reporter
“I feel like a lot of people don’t see disability as part of national diversity. As a society, we talk about ethnic diversity, sexual orientation, race, economics, which are all important, but we sometimes forget about ability and disability,” Project SEARCH director and filmmaker Dan Habib said.
Keene State College held the Monadnock Region Transition Fair on October 22, 2019, in the Young Student Center. Habib showed some short films about individuals with disabilities. He spoke about how those individuals transition within the education system and after graduating from their school or college.
The Monadnock Region Transition Fair showed the short film, “Garrett Shows: I’m in Charge”. The film is about Garrett Shows, as a sophomore at ConVal high school. After the film, Shows and Habib held a question and answer session.
“I thought it was going to be boring, but I’m really glad that I came because I learned a lot. It was really interesting to see the films and to hear Garret speak,” Keene State student Emily Gosselin said.
“It was good to hear it from a kid with special needs Most of the time their parents or their teachers talk, but he actually talked about it. It was a whole different perspective,” Keene State student Chloe Syr said.
Shows is now 21 years old and works in the oncology ward through Project SEARCH. Project SEARCH is a program for individuals with intellectual or physical disabilities to help them find employment.
“Basically people get together and see which is the best program and individualized for each student. Which one is best for him,” Shows said. “To be honest, I don’t think college is the right answer for me.”
Education professor Lance Neeper was part of the team at Keene State College that coordinated this event.
“There were faculty members, there were community service providers, there was just a lot of us to help put this together. I coordinated with Dan and some others on this project,” Neeper said.
Keene State students and ConVal high school students attended as well as people from the surrounding communities.
“This was a really diverse crowd. I feel like there were people from colleges, there were non-profits, there were a lot of students here. A lot of education students, but also students from the community. I feel like it’s a great way to bring people who are out in the community of Keene and neighboring communities into the college,” Habib said.
“A lot of future teachers came to learn what the process looks like and what they can do when they get into the classroom,” Neeper said. “It starts with future teachers and with families.”
The Monadnock Region Transition Fair had 18 vendors from local non-profits, community services and education programs. The vendors were local organizations that offered various forms of support to individuals with disabilities.
“I got a lot of information, especially from the vendors. I didn’t really know what kids with special needs did after college. I’m an elementary education major, so we need to prepare them for something and I didn’t really know what we were preparing them for,” Syr said.
“There were a lot of education students here and they should be seeing their future as teaching a wide variety of students, including students with disabilities. There shouldn’t be this wall between regular education and special education,” Habib said.
“I want to get my masters in special education so I think this was nice to see all the films and to know that just because they have a disability, they’re completely capable of anything else. It was just nice to see a visual,” KSC student Lily Perkins said.
“I came for one of my classes, but I’m glad I came to this one. Disability is a huge thing and everyone has to face it at times. I loved the stories that were told and how their lives were impacted,” Keene State student Allen Crosnier said.
Habib’s other films have been shown at Keene State College and Keene State is considering holding similar events to this one in the future.
“We’re definitely thinking about what other ways we can have an impact, if it’s something like this or some other avenue,” Neeper said.
Kelly Regan can be contacted at