2022 Graduates Reflect Upon Their Best Buddies Experiences
Every year Best Buddies in Ohio has the bitter-sweet honor of sending our Graduates to the next chapter in their lives. While we hope many will stay involved in Best Buddies, we are pleased to share their reflections on their experiences in both high school and college chapters across the state. For all, Best Buddies positively impacted their educational experiences.
Aidan Horan Upper Arlington High School
Aidan was asked to join Best Buddies by his chapter advisor. He has enjoyed gatherings with his peers, including their movie night, Super Bowl party, and Valentine’s Day party. While Aidan has enjoyed these events, his biggest highlight has been developing a friendship with his buddy Matt, whom he affectionately calls Marty. Aidan and Matt enjoy playing Xbox together and going out to eat. Aidan plans on attending a CBT program at Ohio State University’s campus for job training classes and on-the-job training.
Alex Rogers The Ohio State University
My name is Alex Rogers and I am part of the OSU Chapter!! How I got involved in Best Buddies was that I heard about it through my last case manager and my mom. So I started to do Best Buddies after high school, and I really liked it, and now it’s a part of my life. My experience has been really fun. I met new people, made friends, and got more involved in the community and fun events. I went on a job interview at the end of February and got offered a seasonal job after I graduate.
Isabella Stevens Kent State University
I got involved with Best Buddies about four years ago when it was a brand new chapter on Kent’s campus. Best Buddies has been an amazing experience for me. It has allowed me to create many new friendships. I could not be more blessed to be part of this chapter. We started with just having four people in a room, and now we have almost 100 members. I am beyond proud of this chapter and how far it has come. It has been an amazing journey meeting everyone over the years and watching it grow. After graduation, I am planning on going back home and working full-time!
Neige DeAngelis Westlake High School
During the pandemic, a few friends and I founded our chapter of Best Buddies so that students at our school (both with IDD and without) could have a way to get connected and make friends during the pandemic. My favorite memory from Best Buddies was organizing the friendship walk that my high school hosted last spring. It was a huge hit – we had hundreds of students walking around the track together alongside our members with IDD, supporting friendship and inclusion. We had face painting, a shaved ice truck, and the marching band performed – it was so much fun!
I felt so proud of our chapter at that moment because a small group of friends were able to have a large impact on our community. Another memory that I will never forget was attending the Best Buddies Gala with my buddy, Hannah. It was really sweet to get all dressed up together and give a speech at the Gala. I really appreciate all of the experiences and friendships I have made through Best Buddies. These amazing friends and cherished memories will stay with me for the rest of my life! After graduation, I will be attending the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. I plan to major in Cell & Molecular Biology with a possible double major in music. I hope to attend medical school and continue helping people with IDD both clinically and through the world of social advocacy.
Sarah Marsh Miami University of Ohio
I got involved in Best Buddies after discovering the organization at my school’s organization fair my freshman year. I went on the serve as Event Coordinator, Vice President, and then President of the organization. Highlights of my experience include our annual fashion show at Brick Street Bar and leading our monthly chapter meetings where our individuals with IDDs spoke about their experiences within the realms of inclusive living, accessible education, and Special Olympics. I have enjoyed leading this chapter through a disability studies lens and amplifying our members’ voices and lived experiences. After graduation, I am attending Ohio State University to pursue my doctorate in occupational therapy.
With each cherished friendship, these Buddies grew to be successful student leaders. Their words reflect the impact that a friendship had on their outlook. The connections they formed will stick with them for years to come. We carry confidence and hope for their bright futures. Congratulations to our 2022 Best Buddies Graduates!