Friday, June 23, 2017

Graduates of the Windham/Raymond Adult Ed Program to “write their own story” by Lorraine Glowczak

The auditorium at Windham High School was the setting of another pomp and circumstance on Thursday evening, June 15. Slightly different than the more traditional graduation, eleven of the eighteen students who participated in the Windham/Raymond Adult Education Program marched across the stage to receive their diplomas and thus move on to new and hopeful beginnings.
Most of the graduates believed they would never see this day or participate in their graduation ceremony. Many had to overcome significant obstacles, reaching deep for courage to take this non-traditional route to attain their educational goals. 

Windham/Raymond Adult Education provides the opportunity for students whose lives, for whatever reasons and challenges, make the traditional path to graduation unattainable. Through the Adult Ed Program, students have an opportunity to earn their high school diploma or equivalence certificate (referred to as HiSET) through classes offered at various times including evening courses.

The graduation ceremony began with Tom Nash, Director of Windham/Raymond Adult Ed, who welcomed and congratulated family and friends in the audience for their support and encouragement; noting that it made the difficult road to success less challenging for the students. most traditional graduation ceremonies, this one also came with inductions into the honor society and special awards. Graduates Charlana Hamilton, Kaitlyn McAllister, Ashley Patterson and Victoria Wormwood were inducted into the National Adult Education Honor Society, by Cathy Renaud, Adult Education Coordinator. Also inducted were Negin Ahadzadeh, Mako Bile, Kaylyn Lorrain, Osman Ahmed, Patience Deah and Marjorie Lougee.  A Courage to Grow Scholarship was awarded to Christopher Terron McCourt from Central Maine Community College as well.

Two graduates, Kaitlyn McAllister and Christopher Terron McCourt were the student speakers for the evening. Each spoke briefly about their personal journeys on the path to graduation. “It took me a very long thirteen years to get here and I’m so grateful for today,” McAllister shared in her speech.

Rachael O’Donnell, licensed clinical social worker and licensed alcohol-drug counselor from Gorham, was the guest speaker. O’Donnell began with sharing her own life story, which included the same path the 2017 graduates have taken, obtaining her equivalence certificate before going on to college to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Her inspiring talk included many words of encouragement. “Continue to write your own story and choose your destiny, despite the hardships you may face,” she stated.

Superintendent of Schools, Sanford Prince, provided the closing remarks. He honored the students for their tenacity and focus, both of which it took to complete their programs. Prince also reminded the audience that living life a little differently is an acceptable way to obtain personal goals. He ended his remarks and the ceremony with, “We all learn differently, we all travel at different paces . . . and that’s okay.” 

Best of luck to the 2017 Adult Ed Graduates as they begin their new lives and continue to “write their own story.”

The graduates are as follows:
Hudson Adams
Jessica Alexander
Alexander Armstrong
Hayley Cushing
Neal Gomes
Charlana Hamilton
Kaitlyn McAllister
Christopher Terron McCourt
Larissa Needham
Stephen Olsen
Ariezshania Ortega
Ashley L. Patterson
Jessica Remington
Jacob Smith
Aaron Spiller
Ryan Stuart
Francis G. Wall
Victoria Wormwood

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