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NEISD program helps students transition into life after high school

Every day, travelers make their way through San Antonio’s bustling international airport. Some know just where to go and others need a little help.

That’s where James Madison High School graduate Jacob Walter comes in.

“You meet new people every day at the airport. I enjoy it; it’s fun,” he said.

Jacob is an Ambassador at the airport. He helps people find their way around and welcomes new visitors.

“He loves to just take them wherever they need to go directly. We had someone who needed to go to TSA- he escorted them to TSA. We had another one going to Terminal B- he escorted them to Terminal B,” David Paredes, the Special Activities Coordinator at the San Antonio International Airport said.

The twenty-one-year old is always makes people around him smile despite his own challenges.

“I’ve been in a wheelchair since the spring of 2014. I stopped walking. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy affects the whole body,” Jacob said.

“What this disease does, is it affects you from primarily your feet and it goes up the body. It weakens the muscles. It affects everything from his brain to his organs,” Brian Walter, Jacob’s dad said.

He said he is proud of his son’s joyful spirit and determination. It’s something Jacob learned in part through the North East Transition Services Program.

NETS is a community-based program. We try to help prepare students like Jacob, young adults who have special needs, transition into their life after high school,” North East Transition Services (NETS) Teacher Derek Canfield said.

Canfield said Jacob also learned budgeting, college prep, and cooking skills. He said Jacob even rides the bus on his own and makes his own reservations online.

“I use VIA to get out into the community like when I go to NETS activities,” Jacob said.

Canfield said he hopes that Jacob takes away something important from the program.

“I want the last day of NETS to really look like the first day of his life, but he is already at that point, I know he is. When he graduates, he is going to have that support system already in place. He has that here in the airport and he has it at home,” he said.

Jacob said he won’t give up and wants to spread a positive message to others.

“Not to be afraid to do anything- that they don’t give up on doing stuff just because they are disabled. That doesn’t mean they can’t do anything.”

Discover the NEISD way, where our educators encourage students to overcome challenges and dream big.


Ashley Speller