Young Adults in Transition holds back-to-school meeting

Published 11:03 am Thursday, September 14, 2017

By EMILY REED / Special to the Reporter

More than 150 students from high schools throughout Shelby County and Project Search recently met at American Village for a Young Adults in Transition meeting.

“Young Adults in Transition is comprised of students with disabilities from all Shelby County High Schools,” said Laura Partain, a work instructor with Shelby County Schools. “YAiT brings students together with others who have something in common. They learn about themselves, their rights, and how to speak out and be advocates for themselves.”

The group meets quarterly at central locations with students from all area high schools.

The students have started taking rolls in the design, and actively participate in meetings by discussing their personal challenges, and how they will overcome them, according to information provided about Young Adults in Transition.

The group helps prepare students for life after high school, helps students learn about their abilities and strengths, helps students apply what they learn through YAiT at their own schools and in planning for their IEP meetings, and allows students to discover their leadership abilities.

The back-to-school meeting featured guests HK Derryberry and Jim Bradford from Nashville, Tenn., who shared with the students how to overcome life’s hurdles.

Partain said Derryberry and Bradford have made more than 175 appearances and have shared their story with more than 40,000 individuals since 2012.

The two have also been featured on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, This Morning Show in London, and a part of Tragedy into Triumph, a four-day live-event with Deion Sanders.

Partain said the duo shares the story, “The Awakening of HK Derryberry,” which is available at bookstores and online, and was recently named the 2017 Audie Winnder and 2017 Earphones Award from Audiofile Magazine.

Derryberry is one of only a handful of individuals in the world with a medical diagnosis of hyperthymesia, also known as Superior Autobiographical Memory.

Derryberry has the ability to remember every event, including time and place of when it occurred to him since he was three-and-a-half.

Researchers are optimistic that studies on Derryberry’s brain may one day lead to a breakthrough for people suffering memory loss, according to information provided by Partain.

“Students were astounded when they were asked to give their birthdates, and HK gave the day they were born and information about events that happened on that day in history,” Partain said. “HK’s life is a constant reminder to us all that everyone can accomplish anything in life iif the always keep a positive attitude, define their personal goals, have fun, work hard, and never give up.”

To find out more information about Derryberry’s story, visit

Partain, and work instructor Carrie Radice invited the group to the event that was hosted by American Village.

For more information about YAiT, visit