Showing posts with label Windham Raymond Adult Education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Windham Raymond Adult Education. Show all posts

Friday, June 21, 2024

Windham Raymond Adult Education graduate shows what determination can do

By Masha Yurkevich

On June 13, Windham Raymond Adult Education celebrated their 2024 graduates who persevered through all the challenges that came their way and who stood strong in their determination, not giving up until they reached their goal.

Through all the challenges and obstacles that came his way,
Matthew Ostiguy's determination led him to finish what he
started and to graduate and follow his dreams. Ostiguy, right,
shows his high school diplomas to Cathy Giuffre-Renaud
of Windham Raymond Adult Education.
Matthew Ostiguy was one of this year’s graduates of the WRAE program and a patient of the Neurorestorative Rehabilitation Clinic of Standish Maine who provided a shining example of determination and willpower.

Ostiguy is originally from Fairhaven, Massachusetts where he lived for 25 years until moving up to Maine.

“During my stay there, I had only made it to junior year in high school before dropping out,” said Ostiguy. “I couldn't say I really had any plan in life yet other than spending time at the skatepark trying to make something of myself thinking I could take that to a level where I could get paid for it.”

Ostiguy chose to complete his education at WRAE because he was feeling left out.

“Seeing most of my friends, my younger cousins, my family and people I looked up to, having degrees and or still completing school made me so much more motivated to buckle down and attain my diploma,” he said. “I felt like I had something to prove by finishing what I had started.”

This promised to be a difficult journey.

During his time in the adult education program, Ostiguy found it extremely challenging to relearn some of things that he was taught because the material felt foreign after being out of school for such a long time.

“I had never thought it would be so difficult to relearn,” said Ostiguy. “It definitely required practice and studying, or I don't think I would've gotten through it at all.”

Ostiguy had many obstacles on his way, but he was determined to finish what he started. He said he was determined to show everyone what he was capable of and that he could actually get it done once he set his mind to it.

“School was always very hard for me, so it came as a surprise to my family and even myself when I decided to start attending the program,” he said.

After graduating, Ostiguy says he couldn't help but feel a great sense of personal accomplishment wash over him as he had completed what he had originally set out to do.

“The fact that I could show everybody that I had completed high school even after 12 years and having a hemorrhagic stroke, relearning basically everything from talking to even being able to walk short distances, and then to go on and finally graduate. I really did feel amazing.”

One of Ostiguy’s favorite parts of acquiring his education was the feeling of regaining knowledge from the past and the feeling of actually attending school again.

“It may sound odd, but it really does feel good to be learning again after a long hiatus. Especially going to a graduation ceremony for the first time, it really was the most rewarding feeling I've experienced in a while.”

After graduation, Ostiguy plans to return to his home state and get a place of his own and look for work until he can acquire a college education, get himself situated and get things in order until he opens the next chapter of his future.

“As for advice to all those who are trying to pursue or already pursuing a high school diploma or thinking about it, I'd really like to try to persuade you to give it your all,” said Ostiguy. “Every little bit of effort is worth the result in the end, and you'll unlock so many doors by doing so. The reward really is worth the cost of commitment everyone puts in. To anyone reading this, know that it is never too late, and there is never going to be any judgement on when or how you accomplished your goals. The point comes down to the fact that you got it done, and that is all that will ever matter.”

Ostiguy is very grateful and thanks his mother, his father, the many therapists he had helping me out from Day One, Cathy Giuffre-Renaud of Windham/Raymond Adult Education, and the many people from Windham/Raymond Adult Education for allowing him to attend the program to achieve my goals.

“I really could not have done any of it if it weren't for the many people who have offered me support of any type, it really meant the world to me,” said Ostiguy. <

Friday, January 22, 2021

Lifelong learning improves healthy mental wellbeing and inspires happiness

By Lorraine Glowczak

Windham Raymond Adult Education offers more
than 300 various learning opportunities annually
including how to speak English, complete a high
school credential, become a U.S. citizen, prepare
to go on to post-secondary education or training, 
or learn to hunt, paint, cook and many more.

“I am still learning.”

This quote has been attributed to several well-known geniuses such as Michelangelo and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Although they may have uttered and written those words during their lifetimes, the first known individual to capture the idea and importance of lifelong learning was the Roman philosopher, statesman and dramatist, Seneca. He wrote this often-quoted statement in a Letter to Lucilius, published around the year 65 AD, when he was almost 70 years old.

Although the perception is changing, it is widely believed that learning stops once the diploma, certification or degree is obtained. But this could not be further from the truth. In order to keep up with the ever-changing world, we constantly need to learn. However, there are many who yearn to continue discovering new things because, as studies have indicated, acquiring additional knowledge inspires creativity, promotes innovation, and increases self-confidence. Life-long learning even contributes to happiness and a healthy state of mental wellbeing.

In his research, U.S. News journalist Philip Moeller has written, “Education has been widely documented by researchers as the single variable tied most directly to improved health and longevity. And when people are intensely engaged in doing and learning new things, their well-being and happiness can blossom.”

Continuing to discover about the world around us also helps us learn more about ourselves, establishing a level of inner growth. It also makes us look at our actions in the world and what motives for those actions.

Tom Nash, Director of Windham/Raymond Adult Education, speaks to this idea from firsthand experience.

“Through my 30-plus years of serving various communities providing learning opportunities to people of all ages as a teacher and Director of Adult Education, I have learned some simple and profound truths,” Nash said. “We engage in learning and personally grow from it as a person, when it is relevant, meaningful and timely. We must also reflect upon those experiences and apply them in our lives for us to truly change.”

But what exactly is life-long learning and what does it look like?

“It can encompass so much,” Nash said. “The Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE) provides a clear and comprehensive picture of the state of adult learning and education (ALE) around the world. Aspects of education and lifelong learning they determined were of import to seek, to understand, and/or explore in one’s life included: Critical thinking and problem solving, political knowledge and civic engagement, personal development and human dignity, socio-emotional skills, intercultural dialogue and communication, prevention of violent extremism, community empowerment, gender equality, inclusion and equity, human rights, peace, justice and non-violence, globalization, climate change, disaster risk reduction, environmental protection, biodiversity and conservation, sustainable development.

Catherine Giuffre- Renaud, Adult Basic Education Coordinator, who is also from Windham Raymond Adult Education, added to Nash’s explanation.

Lifelong learning entails a desire to continue the pursuit of knowledge in whatever way that feeds the mind, body and soul. It can happen at any time and in any format, whether individually, in a group setting, in person, or virtually.”

But perhaps most importantly, lifelong learning can include just about anything. Nash encourages one to pursue what gives them joy and fills their cup.

“Read a book, play an instrument, practice and perfect your golf-swing, listen to a podcast, or join a live, on-line discussion group about any topic under the sun, engaging in lifelong, informal or formal learning can only help to enhance one’s life. As Shakespeare quipped, “The world is your oyster!” Explore it and you never know what you will discover. If the pearl is not there, alas don’t give up, but rather dig deeper for one knows not what awaits, but the thrill of the adventure and journey is worth it! Keep on seeking newfound truths and joys!”

There are many organizations right here in the Sebago Lakes Region that can provide opportunities to learn and grow – most of which are either free of charge or come with a nominal fee. The Windham Public and the Raymond Village Libraries are two prime examples. Although programming is currently limited due to the pandemic – one can still check out a book to learn a new skill or read something that challenges your point of view.

Also, Windham Raymond Adult Education (WRAE) offers more than 300 various learning opportunities annually. Whether you are seeking to learn how to read or speak English, complete a high school credential, become a U.S. citizen, prepare to go on to post-secondary education or training, learn to be a safe hunter, learn how to paint, prepare an ethnic meal, or take care of your mental and physical health through meditation or exercise classes, WRAE has more than enough opportunities to provide many lifelong learning experiences.

Whichever way one chooses to dive into the adventure of the mind or to uncover new experiences, sit back and watch your life, and your happiness, grow. <