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SCVTHS students pose with their Community Service project flyers and a sensory bottle

(l-r) Katelyn McConnell of Branchburg, Adwiti Kolli of Franklin Park,
and Sheena Ravoori of Hillsborough pose with one of their sensory bottles and informational flyers about their community service project


Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School Academy for Health and Medical Science juniors Katelyn McConnell of Branchburg, Adwiti Kolli of Franklin Park, and Sheena Ravoori of Hillsborough have been raising awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As part of their SkillsUSA community service project the students have created sensory bottles and fundraised to create scholarships for individuals with autism 

Through researching their project, the students were able to connect with Rikita Singh, Director of the Center of Accessibility and Inclusive Education at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC). Singh was able to assist with some helpful suggestions about their project and provide insight into ASD. Now with a connection at RVCC, the students are working to create a scholarship fund for individuals with ASD to attend RVCC.

Additionally, as part of the project, the students organized a sensory bottle drive, which allowed the entire SCVTHS community to participate.  The bottles were filled with water, glitter, food coloring, and other items. After creating the sensory bottles, the students donated them to The Midland School in Branchburg, which assists students who have developmental disabilities. “The bottles were created for individuals with autism as a way to assist them to focus, as well as a visual aid to help them calm and focus,” said Sheena Ravoori of Hillsborough. Katelyn McConnell of Branchburg added, “These sensory bottles will be donated to people on the spectrum. Just like some people tap their feet to help them focus, these bottles are meant to be an outlet for their focus for people on the spectrum through a more visual and tactile way.” Currently, the students have created over 40 bottles as part of the project.

At the SCVHTS Open House this past February, the group distributed informational flyers they created on how to interact with individuals with autism, as well as signs, causes, ways to donate, and general information about ASD.  Also at the Open House, the students successfully raised funds for The Organization for Autism Research (OAR).

“Small actions can go a long way to support the community,” said Adwiti Kolli.  Katelyn McConnell stated, “Overall, we believe our experience with this project helped us learn how to give back to the community and that spreading awareness can help promote understanding.”

In April, the students’ project will culminate with the team competing at the New Jersey SkillsUSA Championships in the Community Service category, where they will be showcasing the work they’ve done over the course of the year

For more information on this story, please contact James Strickhart at (908) 526-8900, x7169 or