Friday, June 22, 2018

Dreams come true for 2018 Windham-Raymond Adult Ed graduates by Lorraine Glowczak

Sometimes it takes a little bravery to follow a course of action on a rarely traveled and less popular path, believing against all odds that it will lead to good things. Much like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” who traveled along the yellow brick road only to experience a variety of challenges and road blocks, the 2018 graduates of the Windham-Raymond Adult Education (WRAE) met their challenges head on and succeeded. 

The Windham High School Auditorium hosted families and friends on Thursday evening, June 14th
as 16 of the 20 graduates marched in to receive their high school diploma.

Tom Nash, Director of WRAE, welcomed and congratulated family and friends in the audience for their support and encouragement in helping to make the difficult road to success less challenging for the students. He gave the biggest kudos to the graduates for their hard work and determination. Cummings, Chair-elect of the RSU14 School Board, reiterated Nash’s sentiments, asking the audience one question, “How did you get here, tonight?” she begin. “Of course, as I drove here from my home in Raymond, I traveled a certain way – most likely different than those of you from other surrounding communities. There is more than one way to get to a destination, and these 2018 graduates successfully traveled their own road to accomplish what they had set out to do.”

Inductions into the honor society were part of the evening’s program. Graduates Zachary Cole, Grace Daye, Mary Laughlin, Marjorie Lougee and Carlos Rodriquez were inducted to the National Adult Education Honor Society by Cathy Renaud, Adult Basic Education Coordinator. Also inducted were other members of the Adult Education Program: Dioni Araya, Nyabore Luak and Victoria MacDonald. A scholarship to Central Maine Community College was also awarded.

Graduate, Marjorie Lougee was the first student speaker to share her story. Lougee explained that it took some time to get where she is now, but with the support of family and friends, she was able to reach her aim of graduating with a diploma. Now that she has accomplished one goal, she has more on her list to check off. “I want to become a massage therapist, a wife, a mother,” she said. “And, I also want to be a writer and a storyteller.”

Her speech was followed by student, Nyabore Luak. Luak shared the challenging journey from her home in South Sudan to American citizenship. She explained that arriving in a new culture and unable to speak the language was the most difficult of her experiences. She would have never imagined that 22 years after arriving in America, she would be giving a speech in English. “I did not get discourage,” she said of her journey. “I wish to thank all my teachers in Portland Adult Ed as well as the Windham-Raymond Adult Ed who have helped me to be where I am today.” Luak worked full time as a mother of eight children while obtaining a diploma, purchasing her first home in Windham a few years ago. But she isn’t stopping there. Luak ended her speech by announcing that her next step is to become a nurse.

Guest speaker for the evening was Rep. Patrick Corey of Windham. The subject of his speech was “The Courage to Embrace Firsts,” explaining to the graduates that this was his first graduation address. “I have done many things in my role as a representative, but this is my first time to speak at a graduation,” Corey admitted. “What is an ending for you today, is also a first. The first of many things. Life will throw you many, many firsts and some will require you to find a way to overcome them. Keep track of your progress and you will see your improvement along the way.” He ended his graduation address with this advice: “Don’t let failure get in the way of your goals.”
Musical interludes and highlights were performed by the Sebago Lakes Ukulele Society (SLUKES), directed by Dana Reed. Nash and the musical group led the graduates and the audience in Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo╩╗ole’s rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

“Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly
And the dreams that you dream of, dreams really do come true.”

Congratulations and good luck to all the 2018 Windham-Raymond Adult Education graduates that include the following: Lydia Chadbourne, Zachary Cole, Ezra Davison, Grace Daye, Bailey Halliday, Carter Jackson, Mary Laughlin, Marjorie Virginia Lougee, Sidney Brent McKeen II, Eric Mitchell, Nathan Rizal PeBenito, Carlos M. Rodrigues, Tyler Santero, Yasmin Siana-Wolf, Kiante Smith, Shane Thompson.

May your dreams always come true.

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