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Friday, June 20, 2014

Adult Learning Center graduates show resilience

NASHUA – Adult Learning Center executive director Mary Jordan said this spring’s graduating class can be described as resilient, resourceful and tenacious.

“You showed perseverance and dedication … you’ve figured out your own way of doing things,” Jordan said. ...

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NASHUA – Adult Learning Center executive director Mary Jordan said this spring’s graduating class can be described as resilient, resourceful and tenacious.

“You showed perseverance and dedication … you’ve figured out your own way of doing things,” Jordan said.

The Adult Learning Center of Nashua held its annual high school equivalency test and GED graduation for adult learners Thursday.

Many students went through a lot to get their HiSET or GED. Jordan said students had to balance work and family responsibilities on top of their studies.

Student speaker Cameron Doucette was no exception.

“I’ve had many ups and downs in my life … We were given every reason to give up but we didn’t,” Doucette said in his address.

He said he came to the center by chance when he was downtown to buy a soda and noticed a sign for adult education
opportunities.

“I wanted to be resilient, I wanted to be happy,” he said of his decision to sign up.

Doucette was issued his GED December 31, 2013, and has recently participated in the college prep program at the center. His next move is studying computer networking at Nashua Community College.

Doucette was also one of the Carol Kreick Scholarship recipients, winning $1,000 to use toward his education at NCC.

Student speaker Marcio Ribeiro just finished the college prep program as well. Ribeiro said he was moved to further his education so he could set an example for his young daughter. He was the other Kreick Scholarship winner with a $2,000 award. Ribeiro is pursuing a business administration degree at NCC.

Kristela Hernandez had just passed her HiSET test Wednesday. She spoke to her class Thursday about her path to graduation.

“In high school … nobody ever asked me what I wanted to be, who I wanted to be when I grow up.”

She said she didn’t think much about it either and dropped out at 16. After going through a series of different jobs, she decided to pursue her GED.

“That was the day my life began … for the first time I felt at home and I felt that I belong,” said Hernandez. “I fell in love with the people here … I fell in love with the culture and atmosphere. They motivated and inspired me to be the person I was meant to be.”

Art Ellison, administrator from the NH Bureau of Adult Education, gave the graduates advice for their future in his commencement address.

“Don’t let others give you a ceiling … don’t let others tell you what you can’t do,” said Ellison. “Think about who you take advice from.”

Ellison also gave tips on responsible voting, and urged students to become familiar with what each candidate represents.

“Being a good citizen isn’t just about voting, it’s about voting intelligently,” he said.

Ellison presented certificates to graduates along with Nancy Heinlein, HiSET test examiner.

Adult education coordinator Diana Owen presented flowers to Jordan and Susan Katz, both of whom are leaving the Center.

The private non-profit organization serves more than 3,500 people per year out of facilities on Lake and Arlington Street.

The center has programs for preschoolers, children, teenagers as well as for adults.