HCC VAST Academy helps student shine

Feb 4, 2016

Matthew Biasini knows what it’s like to transition from frustration to accomplishment. The Houston Community College (HCC) VAST Academy student got bullied in high school and as a result shut everyone out.

His concerned parents encouraged Matthew to enroll in HCC VAST Academy at the Missouri City Campus. VAST, which stands for Vocational Advancement and Social Skills Training, provides post-secondary transition programs and comprehensive support services for differently-abled individuals. The goal is to lead students to independence and ultimately, employment. This program is a recent addition to the Missouri City Campus.

“VAST is not just about the learning,” said Michael Biasini, Matthew’s father. “The program builds the community, so Matthew is getting the social interactions he wasn’t getting in high school.”

VAST Program Director Francine Melton-Bryant believes students like Matthew have their own unique learning method and is always excited to witness their progress.

VAST Academy student Matthew Biasini

“If you can give someone just a small step and just a small view of what the world really looks like outside of theirs, it’s amazing. It is truly amazing,” she said.

Once considered a “diamond in the rough”, Matthew is now one of Melton-Bryant’s shining stars. It’s why Matthew will forever be thankful to the HCC VAST Academy.

“I appreciate all HCC is doing for me and I will try my best to improve more to help others,” said Matthew. “I just feel more accepted at HCC and hopefully my dreams will come true.”

Matthew’s parents are thrilled to see his transformation with the help of his teachers and peers.

“HCC VAST Academy treats students with respect like they’re adults. In return, they feel good about themselves,” said Valerie Biasini, Matthew’s mother.

Matthew continues to study hard to reach his dreams and it’s paying off, he is making A’s and B’s in his classes and looking forward to graduating in Spring 2017 with a certificate in Occupational Skills.

For more information about the HCC VAST Academy, visit hccs.edu/VAST.

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