Students at Henshaws Specialist College in Harrogate will have a special guest at their first graduation ceremony in two years.
Para-athlete long jumper Ryan Raghoo is the founder of Enabled Not Disabled and will be the speaker at the event on Thursday 15 July.
Henshaws Specialist College works with young people aged 16 to 25 who have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and was unable to hold a graduation ceremony for students completing their course in 2020 due to the pandemic. This year’s event will be virtual and it is hoped that some of the 2020 graduates will also be able to attend.
Ryan was born with cerebral palsy and it was believed he would never walk. He has, however, subsequently represented Great Britain in athletics, becoming the national long jump record holder and a double World Games champion.
Enabled Not Disabled’s mission is to change the language around disability and increase opportunities for people with disabilities in education and sport. Ryan works with schools and businesses across the country to deliver disability awareness workshops and bring disability sport into the places he visits.
All my life I’ve had people tell me what I can’t do because of my disability. Through my work and life I’m showing what people with disabilities can do given the right opportunity.”
His message to the students will be: “Other people will put limits on you, don’t put limits on yourself.
College Principal Adrian Sugden said:
Our mission is to enable students to achieve their goals, whether that is gaining independence or getting a job, so Ryan will be a great inspiration as they move on to the next stage of their lives.