BRISTOL - Forty Adult Education students earned their high school equivalency degrees Wednesday evening.
The graduates at the Adult Education building on Redstone Hill Road were greeted by Lawrence Covino, Adult Education director, and Superintendent Susan Moreau.
“Working toward a high school diploma is no easy task,” Covino said. “For many of you, walking through those doors was the hardest thing you’ve ever done. Each of you is motivated by something different. Regardless of what high school was like, graduation here is a major milestone in everyone’s life.”
“Whatever your age, whatever brought you here today through those doors to this point, it needs to be recognized and celebrated,” he added.
Moreau said whenever she speaks at graduations she likes to talk about two words: “persistence and resilience.”
Those are particularly appropriate for these graduates, she said. “Persistence is when you push forward even when there are obstacles in your way. Resilience is when you brush yourself off, get back up, and do what you need to do.”
“Our regular high school program maybe didn’t work for you,” Moreau continued. “Maybe life threw you some curve balls, but you decided to come through that door, and to start and make sure you finished and got your high school diploma, or your GED or your national certification as a high school student.”
Nicole Carey, who received her Credit Diploma, described how she dropped out of high school when she was 18. “I went through a lot of things personally and I didn’t really think I could come back up, and it was really hard for me,” she said.
However, with the help of the Adult Ed staff, “we have all reached a really important day in our lives right now,” she said. “Some of us it took a little bit longer, but we made it so that’s what’s really good. We all have different stories, but we are brave enough to go through this journey together and that’s a wonderful milestone in our lives.”
Crystal Chute, who received her GED, said while for many people high school is an exciting journey, for her it was a time of “great stress.” Having just transferred school, she found life outside school distracting and found herself repeating freshman year twice.
When she was 18 and still a junior she decided to drop out and finish at Adult Ed while working at a job. It took her five tries to finish her degree, Chute said. “I always found some excuse to stop coming to school, whether it was that life had far better, more exciting things to do, or that I had simply lost interest and stopped coming.”
Finally, last September the tine seemed right to start again and she was able to meet her goal, she said. “For me it has been 11 years since I walked out of my high school doors. I stand here before all of you tonight to say it doesn’t matter why you didn’t finish, what matters is that you finally did it. We did it.”
Four students received $500 Liberty Bank scholarships to continue their education: Erika Renehan, Cassandra Sanchez, Crystal Chute, and Brandon McKay.
The graduates received the following degrees:
Austin Briggs, Keanu Bush, Nicole Carey, Kevin Diaz, Mariette Macdonald, Brianna McKay, Benjamin Pelletier, Erika Renehan, Hannah Soucy.
National External Diploma:
Stacy Chapman-Lipski, Nubia Rose, Cassandra Sanchez, Jorge Valle.
Gilbert Aguilera, Grace Aryeetey, Alexander Bracco, Curran Brown, Crystal Chute, Ryan Ciafardoni, Derrick Domina, Tyler Dube, Derrick Ervin, Sharon Falge,
Imauri Ferrer, Michelle Jernigan, Marshun Kimber, Deon Langevin, Loc Ly, Jeffrey Lyman, Jeremy Madore, Brandon McKay, Cole Musumano, Joshua Perez,
Jachai Riddick, Jose Rodriguez, Nicholas Roger, Carmelo Santos, Daniela Schaal, Joshua Suarez.
The Credit Diploma program allows students to follow a similar path as a conventional high school, where they earn credits in the basic subjects of English, math, social studies, and science, while taking electives such as work experience, vocational training, independent study projects and military service.
The National External Diploma is a high school completion program that is done completely online, with the students working independently and meeting regularly with assessors.
The GED (General Education Development) is a set of tests to measure high school level skills goes back to the 1940s when young people enrolled in the military to fight in World War II before completing high school. Since then it has been revised five times but is still focused on demonstrating proficiency in science, math, social studies, reading, and writing.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.