Disability Services Information Session 2017. RSVP now to attend!

a silhouette of a woman signing, a silhouette of a male jumping and holding up a peace sign, a male silhouette dancing. The words your voice, your choice, your move are under the 3 silhouettes

Disability Services Information Session 2017
August 9th, 1 to 4pm
Central Campus, Zeiss building room 1106

RSVP now to attend!

Join us for the afternoon to learn about:

  • How to be a successful self-advocate
  • Using accommodations in college
  • Assistive technology offered at CPCC
  • And hear from our student panel to learn about their college experiences and what it takes to be a successful college student!

Students, parents, and adult guests are invited!

Parking is available for visitors in Student Deck 1 or the Employee/Theater lot for this event.

If you or your guests need accommodations to attend this event, please include your request on your RSVP.


Student Spotlight: Toni Cordell

Toni Cordell, CPCC student and author

Written by Laurie Jachym

Toni Cordell is a true success story of a CPCC student. Although she has faced many challenges throughout her life, she refuses to give up. Now at the age of 73, she continues to passionately pursue her dreams with no intent of stopping.

Toni is a self-identified student with a disability. She began working with a Disability Counselor only 3 years ago. However, she has been a student at the college for a number of years. Before she came to CPCC, she never received accommodations at any point in her educational career, but she believes she was undiagnosed with a learning disability. This was a true struggle according to Toni. Her experience in the educational system as a child with an undiagnosed learning disability was difficult and traumatic. She recalls being aware very early on that she knew that other students were more academically inclined than her. She felt “stupid, like a throw away human being”. She was disappointed that nothing was done to help her as a student during her years in the K-12 school system.

Even though she struggled, she persevered and graduated from high school. She was married a few years later and started a family. Both of her adult children are now very successful in their fields, even though her son was diagnosed with dyslexia. She experienced some troubling times in her personal life, with the loss of a loving spouse, and another marriage that was abusive. However she maintains a strong connection with her children and their families. She also found love in a new spouse and is now happily married.

At the age of 69 she enrolled at Central Piedmont Community College. Toni states that she felt “amazing” and her life improved in so many ways as a result of her involvement with the college. By joining TRiO, Student Life, and PTK, she found a positive community of staff and students that she bonds with, even to this day. She calls it “comradery of compassion”. By surrounding herself with others who she felt like are “committed to your success” she was able to flourish in the educational environment.

It was not until after she sustained a head injury from a bus accident that she was referred to Disability Services. She notes that her short-term memory worsened as a result of this accident. She also noticed challenges with test anxiety, especially with her math classes. She credits her participation in tutoring through TRiO and the Academic Learning Center helped her get through some of the most difficult classes that she faced.

Through this experience, she realized that finding the right math tutor was crucial to her success. Toni provided some words of advice for anyone who is faced with this type of challenge:

“It is essential to feel safe. I worked with a tutor once who wasn’t helpful to me. Math was never easy for me, so don’t tell me ‘it’s easy’ because it’s not easy for me. I always felt like others had power over me. But this time I had to walk away and try something new. Once I did, I found the right tutor for me and it didn’t make me feel stupid anymore.”

Toni’s decision to take initiative and advocate for herself brought her to a better place with her tutoring. By finding a new tutor who was a better fit for her learning style, attending the TRiO workshops, and using her accommodations from Disability Services, she successfully completed her last math requirements last spring and graduated with her Associates in Arts. I was lucky enough to see Toni graduate as I was volunteering at the ceremony in May. It was a very touching moment to see her cross the stage and hug her classmates with feelings of joy that were written all over her face. I know that was a great day for her.

And Toni has not stopped there! She continues to take classes at CPCC and she completed her first book this year! The idea for her book occurred to her years ago, and she finished it this year with the help of some fellow CPCC students. Dakar Justice did the illustrations, who Toni met through a Man Up leadership conference at CPCC. Also another CPCC student, Sara Dir, was Toni’s administrative assistant and she is assisted Toni with publishing and selling her book.

Toni's book, "The Puppy on the Other Side of the Pond"

She also credits Liz Rodgers as her motivation and inspiration to become a writer. She explained that taking Instructor Rodgers’ classes helped her find her “writer’s voice.” Toni explains about being a writer,

“I have the courage to write because I’m afraid to fail.”

Toni’s book is titled “The Puppy on the Other Side of the Pond.” Her inspiration to write the book came from her childhood experiences:

“I was never read to as a child. I wrote this book in my own voice for a child.”

The book is all about acceptance and looking beyond our differences. It was important to Toni that she teach children a life lesson with the book. After the story, there are discussion questions in the book to help stimulate conversations between adults and children about the book’s message. Finally, at the end of the book, Toni describes two charities that she has partnered with to donate 10% of the sales towards the charities, which are Freedom School Partners and 4 Paws for Ability.

I could go on and on about Toni, she has many more adventures and stories that I have not even told you about yet! Toni could literally write a beautiful book about her life….maybe one day she will! I hope this student spotlight inspires you to chase your dreams no matter where you are in your life and what obstacles you face. It’s never too late!




Increased Accessibility at Levine Campus

Written by Tina Hardin

As we strive to improve accessibility on all our campuses, we want people to know that Disability Services is listening and facilitating change! We are happy to announce the installation of two new wheelchair ramps located between the Middle College buildings and the College Curriculum buildings at Levine campus.  In collaboration and coordination with the college ADA Coordinator and the Facilities department, we completed this project in time for Fall semester 2015 to increase accessibility and safety for students traveling back and forth between these locations. Small changes can make such a huge difference! Please see the pictures below of these beautiful new pathways.

New ramp at Levine Campus for the Middle College

New ramp at Levine Campus (photo 1)

Levine campus ramp (photo 2)

CPCC Staff and Students Participate in the ADA Legacy Tour

Written by Laurie Jachym

Staff and students from CPCC participated last week in the ADA Legacy Tour to commemorate 25 years of the ADA (American’s with Disabilities Act). The tour is traveling across the county this year to provide celebration and education on the ADA and the history of disability rights. Disability Services was invited to attend and participate in the event when the bus stopped in Charlotte last week. Staff from Disability Services, Interpreting Services, and Human Resources along with CPCC students were in attendance.

Outisde of the ADA bus.


Inside the Disability Rights Museum bus, the history of disability rights in America.

The history of disability rights in America is very interesting and important to American history. The photo above shows the inside of the Disability Rights Museum bus that was on display at the event.

The museum was filled with photos, videos, and timelines to give all who attended a glimpse into how disability rights were developed as well as the landscape today.

ADA history - ADA becomes Law in 1990.


Rachel and Chance view ADA history.

Serena views ADA history.

Alysia learns more about assistive technology.


This part of history is not always easy to take in because of the atrocities that occurred in the past to people with disabilities. However, watching the uprising of non-violent protests and demonstrations that lead to the creation the ADA are very powerful and moving. Rachel Megahan, Disability Counselor, had this to say about the event:

“After experiencing the ADA tour – it made me think how easily forgotten ADA is.  It is nice to have days like yesterday, for people to stop by and just to visit….at least to remember the importance of ADA.  One of things I was watching in the museum – it was mentioned that ADA was not discussed much in schools so young kids do not know much about it and as result of that, people don’t realize the importance of ADA. I think it is important to continue promote awareness about ADA in some ways.”

Some of the Disability Services staff participated in both days of the tour in Charlotte, June 8-9, 2015 . Each day, the museum bus was open to the public for tours. The first day of the event included a ribbon cutting ceremony and a panel discussion of the ADA, shown below.

Ribbon cutting ceremony.


ADA panel.

Day two was very special, as CPCC staff and students recited “A Credo for Support” to urge the community to show respect and dignity to people with disabilities.

CPCC group in front of the ADA museum bus.

If you get a chance to see the legacy tour this year do not miss it!  The days we spent with the Legacy Tour were educational and inspiring. Learning about how disability rights were established in this country is something we should all take time to do. The tour helps us understand that it’s not just about disability rights, but basic human rights, as we are all in this together.

Photos taken by Laurie Jachym and Rachel Megahan

Staff Spotlight: Sam McCord, Coordinator for Interpreting Services

Sam McCord

Sam McCord

Written by Laurie Jachym

Sam McCord is the resident “Veteran” in our department. He started working at the college 33 years ago, and he credits this as his first professional job. He continues to maintain a strong work ethic everyday, which is obvious to anyone who has worked with him. He recently won the “Eyes on You” award as a result of his passion and dedication to the college.

Sam is trained in Interpreting and American Sign Language (ASL). Sam not only coordinates Interpreting Services for CPCC, but he also provides Interpreting Services for students. When asked what he enjoys most about his job, he states that interpreting for students in the classroom and working with the Interpreting Team are his favorite aspects of the job.

Sam has many, many stories of all the interesting interpreting assignments that he has done over the years. He has interpreted classes in all the areas of the college (i.e. College and Career Readiness, Curriculum, and Corporate and Continuing Education). His stories range from interpreting basic skills classes in the Education Center to interpreting a kayaking class (yes he interpreted while riding in a kayak)!

Outside of working, some of Sam’s favorite things to do include spending time with his family, going to the theater, traveling, working in his yard, and playing spades. He has a fun-loving personality that is obvious to all who know him.

Sam’s work with deaf and hard of hearing students has been invaluable to the college. He connects very easily with students and strives to help them in any way that he can. He is also a strong advocate for Disability Services and for people with disabilities in general. He possesses a wealth of knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and continues to expand his understanding of the ADA by attending trainings and events in the community frequently.  Disability Services appreciates all that Sam has done over the years and continues to do to assist our students with incredible services.

Ted Talks on Disability

Ted Talks “I’m not your inspriation, thank you very much.”

Ted Talks is a website that holds a vast collection of lecture-style videos on various subjects. The videos are relatively short, but offer interesting topics to the audience. The video we are sharing is a Ted Talk with Stella Young, a comdeian and disability advocate. Her perspective on disability is very thought provoking. The video clip is 9 minutes long. Click here for the complete transcript of the video.