The Madawaska/SAD #33 Adult & Community Education Program recognized the academic accomplishments of learners during an end of year lasagna dinner held at the Madawaska High School on May 23. During the 2012-2013 academic year, learners participated in Vocational Training including C.N.A. certification, College Transitions, High School completion, Foreign Language study, English Language Improvement, and Computer and Technology Training. Learners from all area communities enrolled in adult education programming, including Madawaska, Grand Isle, Frenchville, St. Agatha, and Sinclair.
Adult and Community Education Director, Christine Cowie, congratulated learners on their accomplishments saying, â[Returning to school] takes determination and courage. It isnât always easy . . . when your past experience may not have been one of success and enjoyment. Education has changed and you have changed. Come and visit us, you may rediscover the fun in learning.â
Four learners shared their powerful stories of their vastly unique educational paths. France McDermott started out the evening sharing her adult education experiences after more than 20 years since graduating from high school, also adjusting to the English language after a French education. Although she has lived in the U.S. since marrying many years ago and taught herself English as a teenager to communicate with her American friends, learning to read and write English grammar, spelling, and punctuation has been a completely new experience. After completing 2 semesters of the College Transitions program, France is now enrolled in fall college classes and hopes to get her degree in Behavioral Science. France had this to say about returning to school, âI was able to stay employed for 31 years in the restaurant business and even owned my own. . . Then one day I was out of a job and my thought was, âWhy not return to school?â Nothing was stopping me. . . I decided to enroll in adult education classes in Madawaska. I knew it wasnât going to be easy, but with hard work, anything is possible. . . I got the foundation I was looking for.â
Therese Daigle and Verna Levesque, who both returned to school after their children were grown with families of their own, spoke about their years of attending adult education, years that started with learning English as a Second Language and progressed to improving their oral and written English Language skills as well as learning math. Both ladies came from a primarily French background and have not only been able to learn from what Adult Education has to offer, but they have also helped enrich the educational experiences of their peers and instructors. Therese said, âI always enjoyed learning . . . Understanding any language opens up a new world with connections to other people . . . I am meeting new people and keeping my brain active as I become a lifelong learner.â Verna spoke these personal words, âI was ashamed and embarrassed because I did not have an education . . . I felt like I was carrying a disgraceful secret. I avoided [people]. . . I took advantage of adult education classes. I am now more comfortable with people. I now read every day. I look forward to enrolling in adult education classes again this fall.â
The evening included several displays of enrichment class products. Gert Thibodeauâs Art and Painting class, a staple in the program, provided samples from this yearâs classes in their display of student paintings. Gert Thibodeau was awarded the Madawaska Adult Educator of the Year award for her years of dedicated teaching to the St. John Valley community. A display of jewelry made by students highlighted the new Jewelry Making class given by Jeannie Beaulieu. The stage was full of samples from the Grosses Tetes class, one of several new classes to highlight the upcoming World Acadian Congress 2014. Mrs. Victorine Dionne, retired art instructor, donated hours of her time and expertise in this project, which has produced dozens of Big Heads, all unique in design and personality.
The highlight of the evening was the Adult Education graduation ceremony and awarding of High School and GED Diplomas. This yearâs graduates were Alesha Kelley, Jamie Gendreau, Monica Sirois, and Casey Violette. Monica, representing her fellow graduates, began her speech with these words from the Reverend Jesse Jackson, âIf the mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it.â She continued with, âLife isnât easy for many students who, for a variety of reasons, donât complete High School during the usual K-12 progression . . . We had to reach within and muster up discipline, commitment, and courage . . . We needed discipline to attend classes when [life] called for our attention . . . We had to summon up courage, take the next step, and no longer be ashamed . . . I enrolled in the G.E.D. program in adult education, and from that day I was determined . . . I donât know what the future holds, but itâs looking a lot brighter.â Christine Cowie addressed the graduates saying, âAdult learners face many challenges as they juggle the demands of their adult lives with the requirements of school . . . it is never too late [for learning]. It is a lifelong journey. Our graduates tonight faced the challenges, stayed focused, and tonight they realize their dream.â Mrs. Terry Wood, Madawaskaâs Superintendent of Schools, ended the evening with best wishes for all the graduates as well as for every learner who participated in this yearâs programming. She also congratulated Christine Cowie for her continued efforts in securing quality and varied programming options for Madawaska and the St. John Valley Community.
For more information about what adult education has to offer for the next school year, please contact Christine Cowie or Stacey Cyr at 728-6314.
Posted by Stacey Cyr on June 6, 2013 | Read more in: News