‘I’m like, speechless right now:’ 9 Arc Jacksonville students graduate from UNF

Thousands of students graduated from the University of North Florida on Friday afternoon.

Nine of those students completed this year’s college experience program, which started in 2006.


Students with intellectual and developmental disabilities get the college experience through The Arc Jacksonville On Campus Transition (OCT) program at UNF.

“I felt relieved,” Ryan Paolino said, right after he crossed the stage at the UNF commencement. “I’m like, speechless right now.”

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Paolino was recognized as the On Campus Transition “Student of the Year.”

“I’ve grown my independent living skills, and like also advocating myself,” Paolino said. “It’s been an opportunity for me to be a part of.”

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Paolino’s family got to cheer him on Friday, as he officially graduated. They celebrated his many accomplishments, including joining the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and he played for UNF’s Concert Band, Drumline, and Osprey Pep Band.

“Really, like, glad to be a part of the UNF community,” Paolino said.

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