York Adult Education Hosts Annual Celebration of Learning

Students in caps and gowns

York Adult Education held its annual celebration of learning on June 3, 2021 to honor all of their students’ accomplishments.  The students recognized were receiving diplomas, CNA certification, and Comptia A+ Academy certificates.  Also celebrating their success were students of English as a Second Language classes. Each student has worked hard for at least the past year, and some for as long as 5 years, attaining their goals. All of them had to juggle their efforts with jobs and families.

The students created a special video presentation, Dr. Seuss’ “Oh the Places You’ll Go.”

The Perseverance Award was given to Xue Zheng for logging over 400 hours of classes. This amazingly intelligent and hardworking woman earned her high school diploma in English, while learning the language, starting a restaurant, and raising a family.

In addition to the in-person attendees, some students were virtually present and for others the event was recorded (ceremony starts at 10:20). Family and friends, as well school staff members, York Schools’ Superintendent, and the director of Special Education attended to support the students.

Director of Adult Education, Lisa Robertson, bragged on all the students had overcome. “Let’s look at what it took for these learners to get here today. First of all, I’ll give a brief nod to COVID and how that changed the delivery of education.  For some, that was quite a deterrent to learning.  They needed an alternative.  Our instructors continued teaching classes live over video streaming, until in person classes could resume.  I am very proud of the quality of education that our teachers brought to each class.  COVID also brought other barriers to our learners – anxiety, loss of income, and to some, illness.  But they all persevered:

  • One built a motor powered bike to take her to work.
  • One served her community with 78 hours toward her Girl Scout Gold award, the highest award the Girl Scouts give
  • One started the foundations of an artist entrepreneurial enterprise with mini sculptures
  • One started a restaurant business, and kept it thriving through COVID closures
  • Two students had personal or family illness which disrupted their education in the 9th grade.  They both have amazing academic ability and are graduating today on time or before their peers.
  • Three got their driver’s license.
  • Three took college classes for high school credit, totaling over 100 credits combined.
  • All were working jobs this year.

Let’s give them all a round of applause.”  Director Robertson then shared about being “Opportunity Ready”. She encouraged volunteering, studying and networking to help one get what they want or need in life. Dave Herbein, of our York School Committee invented the five P’s of graduating: Plan, Persevere,Persistence, Purpose, Pride.  He talked about how all five were demonstrated by the graduates.

All of the “Pomp and Circumstance” was observed, from music, to caps and gowns, to flipping the tassels.  It was a fitting and lovely ceremony in York High’s Auditorium.

If you, or someone you know, would like to complete their high school diploma, gain skills to go on to college, or earn an industry recognized credential, check out York Adult Education Program offerings at our website, www.yorkadulteducation.org, or  give them a call at 363-7922.

To learn more about Adult Education Programming across Maine visit: https://www.maine.gov/doe/learning/adulted

Information for this article was provided by York Adult Education Program as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit a story or an idea, email it to Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.