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Belfast Adult Education celebrates graduates

By Denise Pendleton | Jun 19, 2019
Courtesy of: Denise Pendleton Scotty Clark describes the obstacles he overcame on his educational journey during graduation exercises for Belfast Adult Education June 5.

Belfast — You might be surprised to know that adult education graduates have goals that mirror those of traditional high school students: Ashlee is committed to becoming a pediatric nurse. Alex plans to become an electrician. Odin has decided that he’ll go to college to study forensic science.

They are just three of the 12 students (of a total of 13) who participated in the Belfast Adult Education annual graduation ceremony June 5 in the Belfast Area High School gym. All 12 students have ambitious college and/or career readiness goals and much cause to celebrate, having returned to school after significant life challenges interfered with the more traditional high school graduation pathway.

Wearing traditional caps and gowns, they marched to piano music performed by Lincoln Blake. They were welcomed onto the stage by BAE Director Darrell Gilman, BAE adviser Marie Roberts, RSU 71 Superintendent Mary Alice McLean, and RSU 71 Board of Directors Chairwoman Caitlin Hills.

The ceremony included a message of congratulations from McLean, who applauded students for achieving educational goals despite hardships they’d encountered along the way.

Two students, Ashlee Butler and Scotty Clark, stood at the lectern to share the story of their educational journey. They described the tremendous obstacles they overcame before choosing an alternative educational pathway.

While their stories were unique and deeply personal, they highlighted the courage and resilience all adult learners must draw upon to accomplish goals that others often take for granted. They also noted that caring relationships with adult ed staff gave them the confidence to see themselves as capable learners and the motivation to stick with the program.

As the ceremony drew to a close, Roberts presented each student with a personal certificate describing their individual achievements, which was followed by the awarding of diplomas. Students and their families gathered in the cafeteria to celebrate with cake, refreshments and photos.

Graduates have reached this milestone by completing the High School Equivalency Test (commonly known as the HiSET) or by taking courses to complete the credits needed to receive a high school diploma. Some of the graduates have been working toward their graduation goal over a period of several years, while others have been able to graduate more quickly.

The graduating class list includes  Michael Benjamin, Trapper Berard, Ashlee Butler, Scotty Clark, Alexander Cunningham, Corey Deschamps, Randy Elwell II, Mazey McKeen, Loretta Mosher, Melinda O’Brien, Odin Scappaticci, Shylyn Skillings and Wendall Tracy.

Belfast Adult Education provides year-round services in high school completion, workforce readiness, and college preparation for adult learners as well as one-on-one tutoring in reading, writing, math, and computer skills.

If you are ready to start (or restart) your educational journey and work toward your goals with the support and guidance of a dedicated staff, take the next step and contact Belfast Adult Education at 338-3197. FMI, go to or look for the BAE brochure in your mailbox early this fall, when it is mailed to every home in Waldo County.



Belfast Adult Education students on stage during graduation exercises June 5. (Courtesy of: Denise Pendleton)
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