The already-accomplished Rotolo says the CICE program has brought her independence and friendship
By Bridget Yard
Jessica Rotolo is a dynamo. Her resume takes up several pages, but somehow, she still feels she has something to learn.
When she stepped through the doors of Humber College’s North Campus, she wasn’t intimidated, just eager to start the Community Integration through Co-operative Education (CICE) program – but first, she had to find the classroom.
“I learned how to use Campus Compass,” she said, referring to an app that helps the user to navigate Humber’s sometimes complicated campuses.
It was the first of many lessons in independence.
At 22, Rotolo has walked exclusive runways and built an impressive modeling portfolio. She’s been featured in documentaries and news stories and in dramatic productions as an actress.
Rotolo is a member of the Down Syndrome Association of Toronto and advocates on behalf of people with Down Syndrome. She was born with a chromosomal condition that can affect cognitive ability and development. She leads by example as a woman living a full and public life filled with art, community service, and enthusiasm.
The CICE program gives students opportunities to build confidence, leadership skills, and independence by getting involved with the Humber community. CICE courses are unique and varied.
“I’m very happy and proud to be a student at Humber. I feel very privileged to have been chosen to be part of this program,” she said.
“I do classes on healthy relationships and sexuality. I took a film elective class, personal development, and personal planning strategies.”
She is also taking a makeup application class. Her goal is to study makeup full-time when she graduates from CICE and to enrol in more modeling classes.
Rotolo was ready to walk the runway in the Fashion Art and Business program’s annual year-end fashion show. The theme was Powerhouse.
Then came COVID-19 and a transition to online and remote learning for Humber College students. For Rotolo and her mother Dorlean Lieghfars-Rotolo it was a disappointment – turned opportunity.
“I was chosen to be one of the models. And then I was part of the digital fashion show,” said Rotolo.
The graduating class took its fashion show online and created videos and social media posts showcasing designers, models, and the students’ own personal style. Rotolo spent the week creating content. "She was busy with the Humber fashion show. It was a fabulous diversion,” said Lieghfars-Rotolo.
Rotolo has a business creating heart drawings which she sells at Kensington Market and she was about to release a new collection. She was also about to enter her heart art into Humber's The Great Artsby competition and her pieces were about to be shown as posters at a local hospital. She was to meet with doctors to discuss and present the art to them.
Image Credit: Humber Today