In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing the stories of the six achievers we will be honoring at our Expect Success: Celebrating Achievers gala on April 25. Our achievers are people with disabilities who have excelled in the arts, classroom, business world, and beyond. You can follow along with these stories right here.
All Things Possible. That’s the name of 24-year-old Jonathan Huggon’s business – and once you’ve learned his story, you’ll realize just how true an assessment that is. Jonathan has cerebral palsy. Although he is quadriplegic, nonverbal, and dependent upon a wheelchair and personal care assistants, he lets nothing come between him and his plan for achieving his dreams.
From birth, Jonathan has been drawn to music. His mother, Dianne, recalls one night when he was six months old. As she sat rocking him, she began to hum to him. And as she hummed and rocked him, she asked him to sing with her. She didn’t expect anything from it, but she swore she heard something. So she asked him again, and again. And each time she asked, he responded, cooing right back along with her.
His ability to respond to music would be further strengthened in elementary school, as he began to learn music theory in inclusive classes. By the time he graduated high school at 19, Jonathan knew that he wanted to pursue music in a greater capacity. With the help of Nemasket Group’s Building Futures program, he was able to connect with Tom, a student at UMass Dartmouth who would become his music tutor. As a result of meetings with Tom, in 2012, Jonathan composed his first full song, “Family.” With lyrics composed by his uncle, and with his sister and friends performing it, “Family” made its world premiere at an open mic night at Rick’s Music World & Café. Jonathan flourishing publicly as a composer and an artist served as a real turning point for his family, as it made them truly understand that there was a vision here, and a future to go with it.
Jonathan’s talents aren’t limited to his music composition. He truly has a gift for photography, from setting up the right shot to picking unique and expressive subjects. And this talent was discovered, as with many great geniuses, purely by coincidence. In high school, Jonathan’s augmentative communication device contained a bonus camera, so his parents decided to enroll him in a photography class. It soon became clear that this was another area in which Jonathan displayed passion and prowess.
For that following Christmas holiday, his mother gave him an adaptive camera, and after one particularly wintry day spent trying to learn its mechanisms, Jonathan was a pro. Through the use of his self-operated adaptive camera, Jonathan has been able to take ownership of his creative drive. He soon began to receive orders from employees at City Hall, where he volunteers. Ever since, sales have increased, allowing him to become self-employed.
Through his achievements in the arts of music and photography, Jonathan Huggon has truly shown that all things are possible!
Written by Katerina Daley, Development and Digital Media Associate
The Arc of Massachusetts 2018 gala, Expect Success: Celebrating Achievers, will be held on April 25. To learn more, purchase tickets, or become a sponsor, please visit the official gala webpage.