Gray-New Gloucester Adult & Community Education Celebrates Graduates

Gray-New Gloucester Adult & Community Education awarded five diplomas in a ceremony on Monday, June 7th. While the heat caused a venue change, it didn’t dampen the spirit of the celebration and the students receiving their hard-earned High School Equivalency Diplomas (HiSET, formerly GED). A total of eight students earned either a HiSET or Adult High School Diploma during the 2020-2021 school year.

Director Stephanie Haskins and Program Coordinator Theresa Boynton, and Adult Education Faculty, Maureen Mitchell, Sheila Myhaver and Laurie Wells recognized each graduate in five individual ceremonies. Graduates invited special guests to the ceremony and each received a personalized cake to continue their celebration at home.

Diplomas were presented by Haskins and Boynton to the following graduates who attended the ceremony: Joseph Amend, Eunice Burns, Dayla Davis, Kassandra Mercer, and Leila Nelson. The following students earned diplomas during the 2020-2021 school year and were awarded diplomas in prior ceremonies: Lucas Rogers, Makayla Smart, Zachary St.Clair, and Adam Tarsetti. Students who earned their diplomas during the 2019-2020 school year, and were recognized in individual events were: Crystal Jordan, Devin Julian, Aric Lutz, Jessica Roberts, Hunter Russell.

Kassandra Mercer was recognized as an outstanding adult education graduate, and received the Courage to Grow award from Central Maine Community College. The award provides a scholarship to the recipient for three credit hours of tuition for the upcoming fall semester.

Gray-New Gloucester Adult & Community Education provides individualized programming in a friendly environment to help adult learners achieve their academic, career and personal goals. Programming includes high school diploma and high school equivalency preparation classes, college and career advising, college preparation, career training, as well as personal enrichment classes.

For more information about Gray-New Gloucester Adult & Community Education’s programming visit gngadulted.org or call 657-9612.

This article was submitted by Gray-New Gloucester Adult & Community Education Program as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit an article or a story idea, email Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.

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

“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.

York Adult Education Hosts Annual Celebration of Learning

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.

Maine Biz: New Mainers Land Teller Jobs

The following article was found in Maine Biz, written by Renee Cordes.

Training program opens doors for immigrants.

In 2015 after Chis Mbalazamo arrived in Maine from the Democratic Republic of Congo, he opened an account at C Port Credit Union. He’s now a teller at C Port’s Riverside branch Portland, after graduation from the 12-week New Mainer Teller Training Program. It was launched in 2020 by Portland Adult Education in partnership with six financial institutions, including C Port.

Read the full article in Maine Biz

This article is part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit a story or an idea, email it to Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.

Merrymeeting Adult Education Awards 52 Diplomas on May 25th

Merrymeeting Adult Education awarded 52 diplomas on May 25 in a very special hybrid ceremony held both on Zoom and in person under a tent at Mt. Ararat Middle School. These adult learners completed either the High School Equivalency Tests (HiSET, formerly GED) or traditional high school diploma during the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic years.

Director Allen Lampert led the celebration, followed by opening remarks from Bob Lucy, interim superintendent of Maine School Administrative District 75.

Faculty members Jan Crosson, Kathy Ingmundson, Bob Goddard, and RSU 1 site coordinator Dawn Wheeler welcomed Elizabeth Begin, Diego Howard, and Alyanalyn Saenz to the National Adult Education Honor Society. College Transitions student Benedita Kakahuba achieved this distinction, as well.

Commencement speeches by Sharrod Mosley, David Namwira, and Alyanalyn Saenz were followed by the inaugural presentation of Merrymeeting scholarships.

In memory of the longtime office administrator who passed away unexpectedly Feb. 2, 2020, the Carolee Tupper Memorial Scholarship was awarded to her daughter Kiley Tupper, a senior at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. Two additional scholarships were presented to David Namwira, who attends Husson University in Bangor, and Benedita Kakahuba, who attends Southern Maine Community College.

Diplomas were presented by Lampert and Wheeler to the following graduates who attended in person. Class of 2020: Joseph Bellevue, Bethany Cole, Jeff Joy, Jr., Sharrod Mosley, and Spinoza Leboundoza (RSU 1). Class of 2021: Richard Evens, Diego Howard, David Namwira (RSU 1), Alyanalyn Saenz, Duane Wilcox, and Margery Whelchel.

Douce Namwira, Class of 2020, and Nevaeh Pinkham (RSU 1), Serenity Ross and Grady Suhr, Class of 2021, attended the ceremony on a Zoom webinar hosted by Paul Elisha, academic counselor, and his wife – and HiSET proctor – Elsbeth. Forty guests joined them.

Additional diplomas were awarded to Class of 2020 graduates Heather Adams, Zachary Blair, Sarah Blake, Noelle Brown, Taylor Chubbuck, Jonas Cloukey, Robert Creamer, Alexis Deguio, Antonia DiPietro, Laelin Fischer, Elizabeth Felkey, Richard Griffin, Narcisse Isafamba, Will Kinney, Spencer Letourneau, Emily Mitchell, Robert Mitchell, William Panzino, Pirx Rhodes, Marina Tuefel, Quinn Underwood (RSU 1), Trevor Wallace, Sean Webster, and Syan Wheeler (RSU 1).

Additional Class of 2021 diplomas included Elizabeth Begin, Amanda Bisson, Devon Blodgett, Cody Caron, Alexandra Cook, Matthew Plutchak, Jr., Mark Proctor, Alyssia Russell, Miranda Vining, and Michael Pinkham (RSU 1).

Merrymeeting Adult Education provides opportunities for adult learners to complete a traditional high school diploma, earn a HiSET, prepare for college, train for careers, and develop skills and interests in a variety of personal enrichment classes, everything from canoe paddle making to private pilot ground school.

For more information about Merrymeeting’s academic and enrichment classes, visit merrymeeting.org or call 729-7323.

Information for this article was provided by Merrymeeting 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.