Congrats RVC Raise Graduates

Rock Valley College is excited to announce its second graduating class of RAISE students. RAISE stands for Raising Aspirations through an Inclusive Student Experience. The program is a post-secondary experience for young adults with intellectual disabilities who would like to participate in a comprehensive college experience.


This year’s graduates include:

  • Elijah Curry
  • Jasper DeCarlo
  • Kerthan Gallagher
  • Destiny Hottinger
  • Jalen Hudson
  • Gage Norwood
  • Marco Rodriguez
  • Marissa Trotter

“The RAISE program has always attracted students who are strongly motivated and possess a desire to come to Rock Valley College. These students are a pleasure to instruct every year,” said MaryAnne Ax, RAISE Coordinator at RVC.

Like many 2022 graduates, this class has had to face and overcome challenges associated with the pandemic. As new students, they learned to navigate remote coursework while figuring out how to be college students.

MaryAnne agreed. “This graduating class deserves particular commendation for having persevered through remote learning and then segueing seamlessly to coming back to the campus. At the beginning of this academic year, I had only met this group over zoom. I can’t express how delightful it has been to get to know them in person finally!”

MaryAnne and college administrators celebrated the RAISE students in a ceremony on campus recently. Following the ceremony, students were delighted for the opportunity to have their photos taken with the Rock Valley College President, Dr. Howard J. Spearman.

“This group of students is both gracious and appreciative. Each year, it is a pleasure to honor them in this way,” said Dr. Spearman. “This moment is important for the students and the families and faculty who have supported them in this journey.”

The RAISE program is a part of the Disability Support Services office at RVC. They lead the campus community in its commitment to recognize and appreciate disability as a valued aspect of diversity, to design more welcoming and inclusive environments, and to ensure that all aspects of campus life are universally accessible.

Learn more about the RAISE program at