Showing posts with label graduation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label graduation. 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, 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.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Non-traditional students overcome adversities to graduate - By Lorraine Glowczak

Often, we hold the conviction there is only one approach to life. If we do not find ourselves on that path, we believe ourselves to be doomed and set on course for failure. It’s not until we are reminded that there are many alternate routes more appropriate for us as an individual that we are let go of that false perception. Some people discover early - the courage, creativity, and innovation to follow that alternative path such as the eighteen 2016 successful graduates of the Windham-Raymond Adult Education. was all pomp and circumstance the evening of Thursday, June 16th in the Windham High School Auditorium as 14 of those 18 graduates marched in to receive their high school diploma. Most of the graduates believed they would never see the day or participate in their graduation ceremony. There were few dry eyes as loved ones witnessed their son, daughter, or friend march down the aisle to “Pomp and Circumstance” played by local professional musician, Don Pride. 

Tom Nash, director of Windham-Raymond Adult Ed, welcomed and congratulated family and friends in the audience for their support and encouragement that made the difficult road to success less challenging for the students. 

Marge Govoni, chairperson of the RSU14 School Committee followed the director’s statement by explaining this was her fourth graduation ceremony this spring.  As she put it, “I’ve saved the best for last.” Why is this the best? Because each student courageously chose this alternative path despite extraordinary circumstances, taking that one extra step to complete their degrees.

Like most traditional graduation ceremonies, this one too came with inductions into the honor society and special awards. Graduates Arielle Blanchard, Qamar Hussein, and Nadezhda Filatova were inducted to the National Adult Education Honor Society, by Cathy Renaud, adult education coordinator. Also inducted were two instructors of adult education Judy Mandile and Carol Strout. A $500 scholarship as well as a Central Maine Community College grant was awarded to Josh Davis.

Graduate, Allison MacFeat was the first student speaker to share her story. She expressed her gratitude for the non-traditional opportunity to graduate high school. During her years at Gorham High, Allison faced many challenges that took her off the beaten track to traditional graduation. The adult ed option gave her the courage, focus, and motivation to reach her goal of obtaining her diploma, completing all educational requirements in three months.
Her speech was followed by student, Josh Davis. Still reeling from the surprise awards he received earlier in the ceremony, Davis sprinkled his grateful remarks with a touch of humor and candor. Due to his own challenges, Davis also fell incredibly behind with his school work and was about to give up on graduating high school. Not only did he believe he would not receive his diploma, but never once suspected he would be a speaker at his own graduation. But the fact is, he did graduate with the help of his big family/friend support group and did so while working double shifts, graduating in less than a semester.

Guest speaker was Aimee Senatore, the executive director of Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, local business woman and life coach. Her inspiring address included suggestions for a successful future filled with passion for life. These four suggestions were: 1. Overcome fears with curiosity. 2. Choose your circle of influence. 3. Embrace the victor in you. 4. Always hold the gift of gratitude within you. She reminded the graduates that no matter what they would choose in life, challenges will always be present and there will always be more to learn. Embracing the four suggestions, will be the catalyst to overcome those challenges and live a courageous life. 

Most traditional ceremonies rush the graduates through the line to receive their diploma. However, this graduation was performed with intention and honor. Each graduate was given special attention with a sincere handshake and diploma presentation from Sanford Prince, Superintendent of Schools, followed by a moment of silence and then loud applause as the graduate walked off stage.

A few graduates took time after the ceremony to share pieces of advice. Chantelle King’s only challenge was that she wanted to graduate at a faster pace than the traditional route. She tested out of high school, scoring exceptionally well. It was her personal goal to graduate early and join the Navy. She will be leaving for Monterey, CA in September. Chantelle’s choice can be a reminder to follow dreams in unique ways. Teacher and honor society inductee, Judy Mandile, was once a student herself in adult dd. She now teaches courses in accounting and Microsoft Office and is the owner of Mandile Tax Services, LLC. Her life is an example that we never stop learning and growing. Josh Davis, who suffered from severe depression and faced great obstacles offers this one piece of advice, “The biggest thing to remember when one is about to give up - is to never believe you are out of options.”
Let the 2016 graduates of Windham-Raymond Adult Education remind us that through hard work, perseverance, focus, and courage – we can all overcome our personal challenges and be the master of our own destinies, living the life we love and envision.