Family, friends, and supporters of Central Lincoln County Adult Education students came together at Skidompha Library on Thursday, May 31 to recognize and honor this year’s graduates. The library’s Porter Meeting Hall was decorated with a banner and balloons in celebration of the graduates.
The attending graduates for 2017-2018 were Farris Allen, of New Harbor; Austin Gordon, of Jefferson; Rose Lincoln, of Newcastle; Rachel Nichols, of Nobleboro; Brittany Sprague, of Damariscotta; Kelsey Walker, of Bristol; and Matthew Wells, of Bremen. Other graduates who were unable to attend the ceremony are Matthew Churchill, of Alna; Jeffrey Ellis, of Waldoboro; John Hartford IV, of Damariscotta; and Nikole Williams, of Bremen.
Adult Education Director Pamela Sperry welcomed guests before the procession of graduates to “Pomp and Circumstance.” Then interim AOS 93 School Superintendent Jim Hodgkin sang a stirring a cappella rendition of the national anthem. Sperry introduced and thanked the CLC Adult Education staff and advisory board for their hard work and dedication over the school year.
Three graduates shared reflections on their lives and experience in the CLC Adult Education program. Rachel Nichols spoke of sustaining a brain injury, which made it impossible for her to complete her high school education in the traditional way. She credited the encouragement and patience she received at CLC Adult Education with helping her earn her high school equivalency diploma so quickly. A gifted artist, Nichols has already been accepted into the Maine College of Art in Portland and is a recipient of its presidential award.
Brittany Sprague spoke of her daughter being a huge motivating factor in her determination to finally finish her HiSET testing. “I have faced some huge obstacles over the past few years, which made today seem so impossible to reach,” she said. “There were so many times when I felt hopeless, helpless, and disappointed in myself and worried my daughter would feel the same … Today I am happy to say I am here and I have achieved such a huge goal. Today is my new beginning.”
Sprague made the audience laugh and made Sperry tear up when she said, “Pam made me feel like a rock star!”
Kelsey Walker spoke from her heart, not from notes, and got choked up in the process. “I wasn’t expecting this to be so emotional,” she said, wiping tears from her eyes.
Walker concluded her speech by enthusiastically encouraging anyone in the audience who needed or wanted their high school equivalency diploma that “CLC Adult Education is the place to get it done!”
Sperry addressed the graduates with a poem she had written herself titled “Ode to Our Graduates.” There was a stanza dedicated to each of the 11 graduates, and when she finished reading, the audience broke into a roaring round of applause. Sperry then called the graduates forward and Hodgkin presented diplomas.
The ceremony closed with the CLC Adult Education staff raising glasses to the graduates as College Transitions Coordinator Elizabeth Potter offered a toast in their honor and to their success. Immediately following the ceremony, students and guests stayed for a reception hosted by the Central Lincoln County Adult Education Advisory Board.