BELFAST — Belfast Community Outreach Program in Education recognized 10 Regional School Unit 71 students at its June 9 ceremony, where awards were given out. The alternative education program accepts a limited number of at-risk students who have struggled in the traditional classroom setting.

The coronavirus has complicated the lives of students in the program, which is in a separate location from Belfast Area High School. Some students have had to take on full-time jobs to help with family finances, BCOPE Principal Colden Golann said.

BCOPE Principal Colden Golann presents senior Daisy Bradney with an award at the program’s June 9 ceremony outside the school. Kendra Caruso

The program had to increase its offering of educational alternatives for some students who could only meet at night or did not have access to the internet at home.

“Graduation season is so rewarding when you work in a school, but this year is more exceptional,” Golann said.

Most of the eight staff members who run the program spoke about how seniors this year had to work harder than in previous years to earn their high school diplomas because of complications the coronavirus created.

Senior Maddy Stevens of Monroe was excited to graduate, but also felt sad to be leaving the program, she said. She started the program this year and liked the amount of one-on-one time students receive. She is looking into culinary programs, but has not decided if she will go to post-secondary school yet.

Each student received an award and parting gift at the ceremony. Nola Noble, a young mother who held her son during the ceremony and while receiving her award, and Daisy Bradney, who came into school early every Monday for music lessons, received scholarships from Tim Woitowitz, who presents them every year to two BCOPE seniors.

 

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