On a warm afternoon last summer, CCV student Noah Ferraresso was sitting in a waiting room at Fenway Park, counting down the minutes before he would perform in front of thousands.

“I was sitting there taking deep breaths saying, ‘okay, don’t get nervous…When you go out on stage just give it all you’ve got. Shock the world. Shock everyone.’”

Months earlier, Noah had received the Kodi Lee Gives Back music grant from the Doug Flutie Foundation, an award designed to give young people with autism a chance to gain experience in the arts. He spent the next year working tirelessly to perfect his rendition of Andy Grammer’s “Don’t Give Up on Me” for the Flutie Foundation’s STARS of the Spectrum 25th anniversary celebration at Fenway. Noah was treated like a VIP at the show, the highlights of which—besides his own act—were meeting Kodi Lee, winner of America’s Got Talent Season 14, and Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman.

Alongside his musical endeavors, Noah is pursuing a degree in design and media studies at CCV. The program suits his broad-ranging interests, from videography to songwriting to journalism. Growing up, he played acoustic guitar, dreamed of becoming a news reporter, performed in plays and talent shows during middle and high school, and participated in choir and acapella.

After high school, Noah completed a postgraduate year at an independent school and took classes at MassBay Community College. He moved from Massachusetts to Vermont, where he attended Champlain College and joined the residential community at Burlington’s Mansfield Hall. He started taking classes at CCV in 2022, and has been steadily working toward his degree, which he plans to complete this year.

Noah’s CCV experience has been positive, in large part because he’s developed supportive relationships. Specifically, his advisor has been a true champion who has helped him navigate his academic journey. “[She] has been guiding me through a little bit of challenging moments in order to let me achieve my goals, and that’s what defines a special needs college student like me accomplishing those goals.” He’s also benefited from being part of the community at Mansfield Hall, which partners with CCV to provide work-based learning opportunities for residents. Between his CCV advisor, his Mansfield coach, and a mentor, he says he has “a good team of people that helps me stay more committed to accomplishing my goals of education and accommodation.”

The design and media studies program is giving Noah solid foundational skills, including using design software and developing a portfolio, and he’s also been able to explore interests like digital filmmaking; for that class, he’s making a documentary about Mansfield Hall.

One of Noah’s future goals is to become a podcaster. Post CCV-graduation, he imagines combining his interests and talents to produce “Spectrum Pub,” which would feature interviews with people with autism or neurodivergent special needs, families with children who have special needs, and “maybe even an interview with Doug Flutie,” he says.

Watching his Fenway performance, it’s obvious that Noah has a natural ease in the spotlight. “It feels so magical being out here tonight,” he told the audience. “And the fact that you’re all attending this event—this is one of the most accomplishing goals that I’ve worked so hard for—and the fact that I get to share my story through music and songs…it’s like magic.”

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