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Nine students complete Future Link program, ready to start working

The 2019 Future Link students completing the certificate program say farewell during a ceremony Friday at Harford Community College.
The 2019 Future Link students completing the certificate program say farewell during a ceremony Friday at Harford Community College.(Erika Butler/The Aegis / Baltimore Sun)

Chris Wheeler’s favorite job through the Future Link program was his internship at Harford Memorial Hospital.

“It was a great experience learning to help others and I even got paid,” Wheeler, one of three participants in the Harford County Public Schools program who spoke at Friday’s farewell ceremony, said. “In the future, I want to keep working, making money and continuing to be on my own.”

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Wheeler was one of nine students who celebrated completion of the program for 18 to 21-year-olds that provides community based learning to improve life skills.

“We consider our program a success if their last day of school is followed by their first day of work,” John Archer Principal Randy Geyer said.

Also completing the program were Sylva Green, Robert Inskeep, Sammantha Johnson, Danielle Marino, Michael Skevofilax, Charles “Chris” Wheeler, Brian “Brad” Hansel, Amber Lopez and Michael Smyth.

Brian “Brad” Hansel said the most important thing he learned through Future Link is “not to sleep on the job,” while Sylva Green said the program helped her “become more independent and speak up for myself,” she said.

Green earned a paid position at Creative Journeys, where she would like to continue working, because “it has become a second home to me.”

Family, friends, teachers, the students’ bus drivers, other Future Link students and one of their employers gathered in the auditorium at Edgewood Hall at Harford Community College Friday morning.

“Through their hard work, dedication and motivation to learn, they will have future employment as they prepare for their next steps in life and be as independent as possible in their next steps,” Geyer said. “They will effect change to make the world a better place. We are absolutely inspired by their perseverance.”

Future Link participants, from left, Brian "Brad" Hensel Amber Lopez, Michael Skevofilax and Michael Smyth watch videos of themselves during the farewell ceremony Friday at Harford Community College.
Future Link participants, from left, Brian "Brad" Hensel Amber Lopez, Michael Skevofilax and Michael Smyth watch videos of themselves during the farewell ceremony Friday at Harford Community College.(Erika Butler/The Aegis)

Green, from Edgewood, enjoys shopping for discounts and will be missed for her caring personality and determined spirit, teacher Christie Hall said.

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Inskeep, who came to Future Link from Bel Air High School, enjoy the book “Wonder” and learned how to calculate tax and tip.

He volunteered at many places and hopes to keep working in the food service industry for Harford County Public Schools.

He will be missed for his kindness to others and willingness to help, Hall said.

Johnson, who enjoyed trips to restaurants and Eden Mill, learned to make and build friendships through Future Link, and hopes to work at an animal shelter.

“She will be missed for her infections smile and her outgoing personality,” Hall said.

Marino learned to cook and bake and about money. While she said she’d like to retire after her last day of school, Marino also said she’d like to work in a salon or retail.

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Her friendly personality and kind heart will be missed next year, Hall said.

Wheeler was with Future Link for three years, coming from Havre de Grace High School. He liked cooking class and arts and crafts, and his favorite meal is chicken quesadillas.

“We will miss his laughter and his willingness to be a helping hand to his teachers,” Hall said.

Hansel has manners that are not to be questioned, Boros said.

“And he says he’s a very funny guy. That is accurate,” she said.

Hansel has a part-time job at Aberdeen Proving Ground and is going to take classes at Harford Community College.

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman signed into law Wednesday the county’s $903.6 million budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Lopez, who likes music and dance, came to Future Link from Aberdeen High School three years ago.

She worked part-time at William Paca Elementary School until recently.

“She got a full-time position at Bakerfield Elementary, where they welcomed her with open arms,” Boros said.

Skevofilax worked in the Patterson Mill Middle and High School cafeteria and the catering department at HCC.

He likes Sponge Bob videos, time with his family and will go to the Arc.

Smyth, also from Havre de Grace High, hopes to accompany his friend to the Arc.

“He’s a fisherman. He loves to fish in front of his home on the Susquehanna,” Boros said. “His dream is to become a professional fisherman.”

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