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Disabled Student Rises to the Challenge to Graduate

Reem Hamodi waits before the CCA graduation ceremony on May 7May 9, 2016 – Aurora, CO – When Reem Hamodi arrived in the United States five years ago from Iraq, she wasn’t sure what to expect.

She felt isolated because her English wasn’t perfect and communicating with others was a challenge, especially because Hamodi is also blind.

Despite those challenges, Hamodi graduated from the Community College of Aurora on May 7 with an Associate of Arts degree in psychology and with a 4.0 grade point average with the intention of becoming a psychology professor.

Hamodi grew up in Iraq and lived in several countries such as Jordan, Syria, and Libya.

“There were no services for blind people in my country,” she said, referring to Iraq.

She said it was the happiest day of her life when she arrived in the U.S. “I attended Colorado Center for the Blind for eight months to learn how to cook, travel, read, and write Braille. I felt arriving here was the starting point for my success.” After graduating from the Colorado School for the Blind, Hamodi began taking classes at the Community College of Aurora in 2012.

Hamodi has overcome many obstacles by learning the technology and social skills she has needed to become an independent person. Working with CCA’s Accessibility Services Office, students like Hamodi receive equipment and continuous support to help them realize their potential.

For example, students learn to use JAWS, a screen reader technology, which helps them read assignments that instructors place on the web. Hamodi also had a tutor for math and a talking graphing calculator to help her through math classes.

Hamodi has this advice for students with disabilities: “Think about your possibilities instead of your limitations,” she said. “Be positive about your life and do not give up to your life’s struggles.”

This was the largest graduating class in the college’s history, with 326 students graduating.

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