The College Experience values determination and perseverance in the hearts of our students. The perfect example of such a person is Danielle Passariello who graduated from our program during the infamous year of 2020! Like all of the students around the world, Danielle and her peers found their senior year dramatically altered. High school and college rituals such as the Senior Prom, Commencement Ceremonies, and graduation parties were canceled or dramatically altered in a way that was unrecognizable. Even if it was not the Old Normal…many people found methods to make the show go on thanks to modern technology or had to grudgingly accept putting their plans on the back burner until further notice.

Danielle managed to raise at least one thousand dollars to finance a senior trip in 2020 shortly before society concluded that COVID-19 was going to be a long-term threat to public health. Her previous fundraiser nearly two years ago to raise even more funding had no choice other than to be canceled. Danielle refused to let go of her original plan even after an entire year had passed and most people would have quit when they felt it was no longer sensible to continue. We all know that life is not fair, but that does not mean we have to like it! If it is possible, we can also find some way to rage against circumstances beyond our control.

Danielle finally had the chance to hold her fundraiser with reasonable precautions in place in accordance with our agency

guidelines in addition to those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many vendors such as Starbucks donated goods and services for the raffle. Items like a $100.00 Gift Certificate to Juniors Bar and Grill as well as two other restaurants were part of the raffle. There were also new headphones and an iPhone Speaker among many other items. Kelly Weiss and at least one other staff member ended up donating cupcakes and cookies so the students could sell them off for a profit! The highlight of the event was the choreographed dance performances of Abby Censabella, Anna Santiago, and of course…Danielle. (Danielle had been accepted by the Golden Knights Dance Team within the College of Saint Rose when she was only a freshman.) The following YouTube link contains the lyrics and music from the Anson Seabra song, Welcome to Wonderland that Abby used in her original dance routine:

Danielle; her classmates; her mother, Caren, and father, David; and the College Experience staff ended up raising over $500.00 to ensure a more generous budget for our 2020 graduates to finally enjoy their Senior Trip where they are planning to visit Lake George for at least two days while treating themselves to a beautiful hotel room!

The photographs are from Danielle’s event that was held in the recreational room of St. Andrew’s Church thanks to the generosity of the church leaders who allowed Danielle to use their space for this noble cause!