Toly Rhoads

Graduation Year: 2019

Post-Graduation Activities:
After graduation, I attended the Launch Program and was one of the leads in the woodworking business. I learned how to make sure we had enough supplies to make the products we were selling, how to use the power tools to make products and make sure checks for items we sold were deposited. I then worked as an intern at the school and helped Jill with facility maintenance and Betsy and Logan with children in their classrooms. For several months, I did part-time work with a carpenter who was doing renovations on houses. In 2021, I got a job at Advance Auto Parts and help with taking inventory, stocking, picking items from stock, delivering parts to customers, and assisting customers on the phone or in the store

What was your favorite thing about Vanguard?
The best thing about Vanguard was the therapeutic environment. I got support from teachers and the rest of the staff and felt like they understood my disabilities and where I was coming from. The therapy groups were especially helpful. I learned a lot from attending group with some of the older students and was able to be a mentor to some of the students in my age group by sharing some of what I had learned.

How did Vanguard help prepare you for life after graduation?
Vanguard helped me figure out the steps to take to be independent and worked to help the communication with my parents about my future. I am living in an apartment with two other guys and the staff at Vanguard has walked beside me all along the way.

Do you have any significant Vanguard memories you would like to share?
Once of my very favorite memories is Dave’s jokes. He always had a joke – usually a pun – that would brighten the room!

Were there any teachers or staff members that made a special impact on you?
Three staff that inspired me were Dave, Mr. Goodnight, and Patti. They motivated me to get my driver license and encouraged me to keep working and following my dreams. They helped me stay focused when I would get discouraged.

Is there any advice you would give to current or future Vanguard students?
Don’t give up on your dreams! Don’t lose sight of them and work hard to achieve them. I hope to work with kids again someday, and I know I can do it if I stay focused on the goal.

Vanguard Preparatory School

4240 Sigma Road Dallas, TX 75244 | phone: 972.404.1616 | fax: 972.404.1641

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