Tag Archives: San Jose State University

Happy Birthday John! Congratulations Paul!


Our family is celebrating John’s birthday and Paul’s progress towards graduation from Foothill College (and anticipated transfer to San Jose State University). Paul just received news of high grades on his second-to-last Foothill report card, and today started his final quarter there.

In honor of John’s birthday, Rev. David and Naomi Plocher (his parents) sent a card featuring what may be the first picture showing John with a model train.  At four years old, he was already fascinated by railroads. Below is a recent photo of John with his current N-scale layout in what used to be our garage.

P1180544 copy


Images Copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson, and 1966 by Rev. David Plocher


Filed under Caboose Project and Other Trains, Home & Family, News & Reviews

Paul was Admitted to SJSU!


My son Paul was just admitted to San Jose State University (California’s first public institution of higher learning – founded in 1857). He will be studying Art and Studio Practice for a SJSU Bachelor of Arts degree. Paul will graduate with his Associate of Arts degree in Studio Art from Foothill College in June 2014 and start at SJSU in September. We are so proud of him! You can see Paul’s art portfolio on his website: Paul’s Element.

I am particularly happy that Paul got his acceptance package after reading yesterday’s sad article “Students With Disabilities Aim For A College Degree, But Often Get Stuck” (by Joy Resmovits in The Huffington Post). In my last blog entry about Paul’s progress, I presented some of our challenges with the educational system. Paul’s hard work and dedication have now paid off. Hooray!


Images Copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson


Filed under Home & Family, News & Reviews

Paul Applying to San Jose State University


I am delighted to write that my son Paul is finishing up his last year at Foothill College and applying to transfer to San Jose State University (SJSU) in 2014. In addition to studying Studio Art, Paul is interested in becoming a credentialed art teacher for children with disabilities. Samples of his art are below – with more in his online portfolio: Paul’s Element.

Raising a kid with disabilities is a challenge and I am proud of Paul and of our whole family for his successful progress. Paul has been blessed with some remarkable and excellent teachers – to whom I am forever grateful:

Paul also had more than his share of poor teachers but we survived them. I only ask that they and…

  • …the teachers who did not want disabled kids like Paul in their class:
  • …the administrators who told us that Paul would be lucky to get to college:
  • …the head of school who kicked Paul out because his disabilities were bringing down her scores:
  • …the career counsellors who took Paul and the other disabled kids on a tour of the sewer plant:

Please consider this…

Jane Goodall went in the back door to become an ethologist. That’s something I’ve thought about a lot, because people with autism usually have to go in the back door. We have a lot of trouble following the normal paths. We don’t do very well in interviews, which are a big problem for us, and a lot of autistic people also have extremely “uneven” academic skills. An autistic person can test at the bottom of the IQ range on one subscale and at the very top on another. For example, I had great difficulty with algebra because there’s no way to visualize it.  I couldn’t be doing what I’m doing if there weren’t any back doors.

Dr. Temple Grandin, 2009
In 2010, Dr. Temple Grandin was listed in the Time 100 list of the 100 most influential people in the world in the “Heroes” category.

Wish Paul luck in being accepted!  We will hear back from SJSU by March 2014.





Images Copyright Katy Dickinson and Paul D. Goodman 2011-2013


Filed under Home & Family, News & Reviews

Singing Competition – CMEA

Today was a big day for Jessica, my 18-year-old daughter. She checked the web site and was happy to find out that Smith College has accepted her application. We have now heard back from 3 of the 9 colleges to which Jessica applied. (University of Rochester also accepted her, MIT alas said no.) We will hear from the remainder by 2 April. It is a long and difficult wait.

Also, John and Jessica and I just got back from the CMEA (California Association for Music Education) Solo & Ensemble Festival at San Jose State Univ., that is: a musical performance competition. Jessica was the last singer today. She sang an aria in Russian from Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Czar’s Bride and was awarded the highest rating of “Superior” along with a Command Performance. The judge said Jessica’s was the only Command Performance he awarded today!

Susan Nace (Harker’s superb music teacher and the director for Cantilena, Harker’s Upper School Women’s Choir) accompanied Jessica on piano. We are very proud of Jessica and continue to be delighted with the excellent music education and support provided by Ms. Nace.


Filed under Home & Family

Singing Competition – CMEA

My 17-year-old daughter and I just got back from thecCMEAc(California Association for Music Education) Solo & Ensemble Festival at San Jose State Univ., that is: a musical performance competition. Jessica’s school, Harker, was doing very well when we left. Everyone from Harker who had performed in either voice or instrument had gotten the highest rating of “Superior”. One of Jessi’s friends from Susan Nace’s Cantilena (Upper School Women’s Choir) even earned a “Superior with Command Performance”. Of course, we stayed to hear Gail sing again in the big auditorium.

Jessica sang “Gretchen am Spinnrade” (“Margaret at the Spinning Wheel”) with music by Schubert and lyrics by Goethe. With a Superior rating, Jessi can go on to the state CMEA competition in May in Sacramento.

I sat in the performance room while Jessi was warming up with her teacher and accompanist. The overall quality of the performances by Junior High School and High School singers and instrumentalists was impressively good. I have certainly heard many adult professional performers with much less technique and passion.

The Middle School kids who helped run the event and the music teachers who served as judges all did a good job. Even the performers who needed much improvement were sent off with gentle and specific instructions and praise for what they did well. Happily, the worried parents were well behaved and quiet about filming their beloved’s performance.

Leave a comment

Filed under Home & Family