The Alternative Education Association of Maine has selected six students to receive this year’s Martin Mackey Memorial Scholarship. As they graduate from their respective programs, these six individuals have each been awarded $500. With many trials and triumphs throughout their school experiences, each graduate has an inspirational story and passion for their education that makes them a perfect recipient of this award.
Recipient Ericka Dunn is graduating from Houlton’s Summit Academy and will continue her education at Southern Maine Community College with plans to become an elementary school teacher. As a second-year Early Childhood Education student, Dunn has been praised for the effort and care she puts into teaching her class. “Ericka is an honest, hard-working student who is one of the most responsible seniors I have ever met,” said her nominator.
Graduating from the Nu Program in Brewer, scholarship awardee Delany Adams has overcome adversity and excelled academically. Through her responsibility with her schoolwork and her impressive attendance record, Adams has been described by her nominator as “a model student for why this program was started.” Adams will be continuing her education at Unity College pursuing studies in animal sciences with hopes of starting an animal rescue one day.
McKayla Geroux is receiving the scholarship after graduating early from Orono High School’s CORE program. While balancing her regular course load, additional college courses, and her job at a local home for developmentally disabled humans, Geroux has been passionate about bringing positivity to her community. “I just want to give as much as I can to others,” said Geroux, who has started a positivity rock garden and created countless fun art projects for her work. After graduation, she plans on attending college to become a dental hygienist.
Awardee Leah Hashem is a graduating senior from Noble High School’s Multiple Pathways program. She will be attending the University of Southern Maine and plans on becoming an elementary school art teacher. While working extremely hard to improve her academic skills in her final years of high school, Hashem has been greatly admired by her peers and teachers for her enthusiastic energy and the effort she puts into her schoolwork. “Leah has an ability to experience joy that is one-of-a-kind,” said her nominator. “Her passion and enthusiasm for learning and life is contagious.”
Graduating from Brewer High School’s Alpha program, scholarship recipient Anna Puckett has been an honors student and a role model for other alternative education students. Puckett has overcome obstacles in her academics and personal life while still maintaining a high standard of grades and attendance. As described by her nominator, Puckett is “a young lady who comes from very humble beginnings and has a very selfless heart for others.” Puckett will be continuing her education at Eastern Maine Community College pursuing studies in social work, as she hopes to one day become a trauma counselor and work with children overcoming traumatic life events.
Dominic Ramirez is receiving the scholarship as he graduates from Sanford High School’s alternative education program. After spending many years transferring schools and feeling disengaged from his learning, Ramirez found an excitement and passion for his education when he began his alternative education program, saying it was the best change he has ever made. His time in the program inspired him to consider community college, and he will be attending York County Community College in the fall to study behavioral health.
The Martin Mackey Memorial Scholarship was established by the Alternative Education Association (AEA) of Maine in 2022 after the untimely passing of beloved education colleague and champion Martin Mackey. The scholarship recognizes Mackey’s dedication to education as a career and especially in remembrance of his passion for working with students on Alternative Education pathways. AEA aims to award as many funds as they can raise to as many students as they can each year. In 2022 they awarded $2,000 to one student and this year they decided to split the scholarships among 6 students because of the excellent applicant pool.