Central Lincoln County Adult Education graduates celebrated with music, a toast, a punch and cake reception, and personalized poems at the Lincoln Theater on Tuesday, June 7.
Over 40 people attended the ceremony to celebrate with the graduates.
CLC Adult Education Director Pam Sperry continued her annual tradition of reciting personalized poems she wrote for each one of the six graduates in her “Ode to Graduates.”
“Each was unable to obtain his or her high school credential through traditional means,” Sperry said of the graduates. “The reasons for this are varied, but all reflect some sort of bad fit and the need to find another path to a diploma.”
Sperry said CLC Adult Education served 29 students this year in its HiSET program.
CLC Adult Education offers free classes to prepare students for the HiSET exam. If they pass the exam, students receive a high school equivalency diploma.
The HiSET, which replaced the GED in Maine, can double as a college entrance exam if the student achieves a score of 15 or higher.
The six graduates were able to complete the process and pass the HiSET exam within the past year.
Ann Hassett, AOS 93 director of curriculum, assessment, and instruction, gave the commencement address. She told the graduates they are part of the largest graduating class in the state of Maine.
“The number of students enrolled in adult education HiSET programs is larger than any other high school in Maine,” Hassett said.
She noted the benefits of the individualized and flexible program that works for so many people.
“Thank you for leading all of us by example. For showing us that the future lies in taking a path to success that makes sense and works for you,” Hassett said.
One of the five graduates in the 2020-2021 class, Honora Boothby, returned this year to perform “Meadowlark” from the musical “The Baker’s Wife.”
Graduate Matthew Baker talked about his experience being homeschooled his whole life and the challenges that presented to receiving a high school degree in the traditional manner, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Despite all the difficulties I’ve faced, thanks to my parents and family, as well as the wonderful staff and teachers at adult education, I have been able to graduate not only from high school but a year earlier than most,” Baker said.
CLC Adult Education instructor Elizabeth Potter led the crowd in a toast to the graduates, describing the Native American tradition of “walking your beauty path.”
“All of you graduates, to put it mildly, are independent thinkers,” Potter said.
In addition to the toast, Potter offered a traditional Lakota blessing, which she said she grew up with as part of her heritage.
“Great mystery, teach me how to trust my heart, my mind, my intuition, my inner knowing, the senses of my body, the blessings of my spirit,” Potter recited from the blessing as she fought back tears. “Teach me how to trust these things so that I may walk my beauty path and live and love beyond fear.”