‘Aspire Golden Bucks’ Partnership Highlights the Many Pathways to Lifelong Learning

Jessica Gerrish Aspire Golden Bucks Student Profile

“Aspire Golden Bucks” (AGB) was formed as a partnership between RSU 25, Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG), and Maine Educational Loan Marketing Corporation (MELMAC) to encourage students of all ages to create a plan for their future and empower students to continue their education.  The Aspire team puts a focus on local needs-they make sure to interview teachers and students about what they specifically want more or less of in their schools. AGB provides books for elementary schools, supports career opportunities and school visits for higher grade levels, and seeks to partner with, and promote the work of, both Hancock County Technical Center and adult education. In order to show fellow students returning to education that not everyone takes a traditional path through education, RSU 25 Adult Education is sharing AGB timelines of people who may have tried several different jobs or schools to get where they are. 

Jessica Gerrish stopped attending the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA) after two semesters. She was a strong student but her decision to withdraw caused her GPA to drop. Jessica worked as a nursing assistant and did not know whether she wanted to continue on the nursing path. After dropping out and exploring other positions, Jessica realized her heart was in nursing. She applied back to UMA and completed three semesters of school with high honors before withdrawing again. Withdrawing twice affected the school’s willingness to accept Jessica back again. Jessica was able to find advocates and work together to create a plan to ensure she would be able to complete her schooling. Jessica submitted her plan to UMA and was reaccepted. Jessica completed the RSU 25 Adult Education Certified Clinical Medical Assistant program in March of 2020 and is now enrolled in the University of Maine’s Bachelors Nursing program. She has maintained honors since 2019. Her anticipated graduation date is in May of 2023. “I had an extremely rocky road, making plenty of mistakes along the way, but the support I have now has paved the way for it to all be possible. Life happens, and sometimes things get in the way, but there is always help out there for people who truly want it,” said Jessica Gerrish.

Jessica’s story is one of many aspirational timelines that will be used through the AGB initiative. More examples of aspirational journeys are in the works to help showcase the many pathways that can lead to life-long learning and success for students of all ages 

For more information on the initiative, please look at their website: RSU25.org/aspire. To learn more about adult education options in Maine visit: Adult Education | Department of Education (maine.gov)

This article was written by Maine DOE Intern Clio Bersani in collaboration with RSU 25 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.