At Embassy Suites in downtown St. Louis, Lamontae Poke is a legend. A student in SSD’s Vocational Skills Program, he’s always the first intern off the bus, wearing a big smile.
From the start of the school year, Lamontae has collaboratively worked with his speech pathologist, teacher, and job coach. They have helped him set goals that will empower him for life after high school. He accepts all constructive feedback in a positive manner and advocates for his needs and wants. He uses critical thinking skills to organize his supplies and job requirements to complete all tasks accurately and completely. He is a problem solver who is respectful to everyone he meets.
His co-workers like working with Lamontae because he assists them with their work and cuts their completion time in half. He actively participates in role playing exercises regarding student and teacher interactions. He is constantly learning how to communicate his wants and needs most effectively. His pleasant manner helps him easily flow from task to task.
Lamontae has memorized more than 15 routes for the city’s buses and Metro trains. He expertly navigates throughout his community to shop and see friends. Early in the semester, he began to independently use the Metro bus to travel to the job site– he does not like to miss work.
Independence is foremost on Lamontae’s list of goals. Co-workers and a natural support system assist Lamontae with new and unfamiliar situations. He is not afraid to ask for help with any work or home-related skills. Coworkers and supervisors say he is a team player who is always willing to try new things. He has several strategies to help him deal with any situation that comes his way.
Chuck Howard, who teaches in SSD’s Community Based Vocational Skills Program, says he’s never seen a student work so hard in his 28 years of teaching. He is sure Lamontae will be offered a job at the end of the semester at Embassy Suites.
“Lamontae enjoys learning and sees knowledge as power,” he says. “He listens and wants to please. He works for the enjoyment of helping others.”
Through hard work and perseverance, Lamontae has improved the skills he’ll need as an independent young man. He embodies the mission, vision, and commitment to excellence for both SSD and Embassy Suites.