“I’m good at dates,” declares rising second-year student Jack Ryan with conviction. Centered around holidays, birthdays, and other significant events, Jack can quickly calculate the exact date or day of the week of something years before and decades ahead. It is an impressive yet unexplainable skill, and one of the ways he easily connects with peers and staff in the BHMA community. A social and inquisitive individual, Jack loves to swim in the ocean, ride the subway in New York City and Washington D.C., and watch Boston sports and the Olympics. Jack has autism and he is the oldest in a set of triplets—the bond he shares with his siblings Amelia and Conor is apparent when he talks about them and their own college adventures. Born in Los Angeles in 1999, Jack and his family made several stops around the United States—from Idaho to Maryland—before settling in Longmeadow, Massachusetts over ten years ago. He attended the Learning Clinic in Brooklyn, Connecticut for four years and after graduating, Jack started at BHMA as a day student on June 25, 2018.
A year later, he is mastering our social skills curriculum and his banking routine, becoming braver in the kitchen, and establishing job skills at Neighbors Helping Neighbors and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. As Life Skills Instructor Angela Papianou writes, “Jack adds a fun dynamic to any class or outing he is part of. He has built a variety of work skills, including teamwork, and has mastered the balance of being professional while working with his peers.” In the future, he plans to implement what he has learned on the job and become a cashier at the Big Y in Longmeadow. Musically, Jack sings with a beautiful tone, and he is continuing to develop his right- and left-hand coordination on the piano. Through singing hits like “I Lived,” “Let It Go,” and “Sixteen Tons” at Variety Hour, he has practiced being in front of an audience and working with different accompanists. Next year will be an exciting one for Jack—aside from it being a leap year, he is looking forward to performing at nursing homes and going out to lunch each week as part of our Music and Human Services seminar. Jack is bright, kind, and funny, and is always the first to wish everyone in the BHMA community a happy birthday.