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BOCES assignment becomes a fight against autism

Seth Young and Jade Judson entertain Jade's little brother Brody. Brody's autism prompted the two CVA seniors to hold a volleyball tournament to promote autism awareness in the high school.

Seth Young and Jade Judson entertain Jade’s little brother Brody. Brody’s autism prompted the two CVA seniors to hold a badminton tournament to promote autism awareness in the high school.

When their BOCES visual communications class assigned CVA seniors Seth Young and Jade Judson a project to promote awareness, the two puzzled over a cause they felt would be worth promoting.

Autism was the natural choice. Jade’s three-year-old brother Brody has autism. But that was not the only reason to focus on the disorder. They knew autistic students at CVA and had developed a special bond with them after seeing how people treated them.

The two created informational posters and organized a badminton tournament fundraiser with help from high school physical education teacher Jane Connors. The tournament turned into something bigger than they had imagined, ultimately raising $520.

“We had 49 teams. We didn’t think this many kids would turn out,” said Jade.

“We knew the money could be used for many things. We wanted to send it to the HARC (Herkimer Area Resource Center),” said Seth.

In the end, the money will provide scholarships to enable eight families to send their children to the HARC’s six-week Autism Movement Therapy program. There, children work on attention, balance, etc.

Susan Streeter, HARC Vice President – Day and Community Support and Joan Wishod Reardon, HARC Public Relations Director stopped by CVA in June to officially thank Jade and Seth. Jade’s mother and brother were also on hand, promoting the the students hard work.

The pair’s professional presentation also caught the eye of the First Source Credit Union. First Source has committed to partner with Jade and HARC to promote autism awareness in the future.


CVA  physical education teacher Jane Connors, senior Jade Judson, senior Seth Young, young Brody Judson and HARC Public Relations Director Joan Wishod Reardon gathered at CVA to share the story of their efforts to promote autism awareness and to raise money to help area families access services for autistic children.

Seth will attend MVCC this fall to study graphic illustration. Jade plans to focus on her graphic design business, Ursa Major Designs, saving money to further her education in the future.