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Maine Adult Education Association

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Archive: May 2016

Mid-Maine adult ed graduates living proof perseverance pays off [Mid-Maine Regional Adult Community Education]

Ginny Shorette, left, and Angie Harrell speak about graduating from Mid-Maine Regional Adult Community Education program Tuesday. Both women overcame challenges to graduate.  Staff photo by David Leaming

WATERVILLE — Ginny Shorette and Angie Harrell are living proof that it is possible to overcome life challenges and succeed, even when you think you can not.

The women, 20 and 36, respectively, will graduate Tuesday night from Mid-Maine Regional Adult Community Education after having dropped out of school when they were younger, enrolled in adult education courses, worked hard and persevered.


“I’m so proud and relieved,” Shorette said. “I’ve got a lot of family coming. They’re all really supportive and excited. They’ve got all kinds of things planned for me.”

English teacher Paula Raymond also is proud.

“These were a couple of young women whose lives and luck just were never there for them,” Raymond said. “They gave our program a last ditch effort so to speak. Both worked hard over these past few years.”

Graduation ceremonies will be at 7 p.m. in Trask Auditorium at Waterville Senior High School.

Shorette, of Oakland, dropped out of Messalonskee High School when she was a sophomore. She just couldn’t seem to make it in traditional classes, was not grasping information the way other students did and continued to fall behind. She struggled with depression and anxiety, which contributed to her difficulties.

When she enrolled in adult education, it became clear she had an ability to learn, but in a different way than in a traditional classroom. She spent time one-on-one with teachers and counselors who helped her learn how to organize, and she focused on the diploma she so earnestly wanted. She got professional help to work through her issues with depression and anxiety, got a job in a fast-food restaurant and eventually was promoted from a crew member to a swing manager.

“I was in there working one day and the owner came in and was walking around and I guess he noticed me working and talked to my general manager and I was promoted,” Shorette said. “I got a raise. I’m still getting raises the more I do.”

The more she accomplished over the last two years in both school and work, the more confident she became. She is in the process of doing paperwork to enroll in college to study phlebotomy and hopes to become a nurse one day.

“I never thought I was going to do it, and it wasn’t that I didn’t want my education. It was that I couldn’t pull myself out of what was happening around me in my life,” she said.

The staff at Mid-Maine adult ed, including Raymond, who also teaches courses other than English, and history-government teacher Ken Gagnon, who sat with her and spent time with her, made the difference, she said.

Unlike Shorette, Harrell did not have a supportive family. In fact, it was the opposite.

In 2010, she moved to Maine from Washington state after growing up in a family that did not value education and whose members were addicted to drugs, she said. Her family moved back and forth from Florida to Washington frequently, and hers was a precarious upbringing, surrounded by drugs, partying, violence and crime, she said.

She had three children and lost them to the state because of her own issues with addiction. When she got pregnant for the fourth time, she decided she needed to get far, far away from drugs and raise her child in a healthful environment.

When she came to Maine, she went to the New Hope Shelter in Solon and connected with a woman she now calls her “god-mom.”

That woman convinced Harrell that the only way to get off welfare is to get an education, so she enrolled in adult ed and has taken courses for four years. Harrell said she also developed a faith in God that has helped her to become stronger and change the way she relates to the world. Because of help from her godmother, her church, her son, who is 6, and the staff at Mid-Maine Adult Ed, she will graduate Tuesday and hopes to enroll in college and get a job, possibly doing alcohol and drug counseling.

“You want to show your kid that they can do it, and I don’t want my son to drop out of school,” she said.

Like Shorette, Harrell said instructors, including Raymond and Gagnon, took the time to understand how she learns and how best to help ensure her success. She also learned that focusing on work and sticking with it were critical.

“Once you lose that groove, that’s it,” Harrell said. “You have to push through it no matter what you’re going through.”

Harrell, of Waterville, said she will be the first person in her family to get a diploma out of prison, and she worries that it may be difficult to get a job because of her background.

“I should have been dead 50 times over — I know it,” she said. “Once I rose above that, I know that I am worth a lot more than I was told all my life.”

Both Shorette and Harrell encourage others who want to purse an education but are afraid to, to just do it.

“Push through it. Don’t let the fear keep you back,” Shorette said. “If you let it hold you back for that, it’ll hold you back from other things.”

Harrell said she was the “queen of excuses” for why she could not continue something, but once she made up her mind to go on, she kept on going.

“People can do a lot more than they think they can,” she said.

Meanwhile, Raymond said Shorette and Harrell worked very hard, and she is excited to be able to see them graduate Tuesday.

“They took many a deep breaths, and they were willing to trust those of us who were advocating for them,” Raymond said. “They both can lift their heads up high and walk proud into their future endeavors.”

Hannah Bard, director of Mid-Maine adult ed, said 35 men and women will graduate this spring and 12 will march in ceremonies Tuesday night. Nine will graduate with high school diplomas and 26 will receive HiSET, or high school equivalency certificates. The HiSET is one of three high school equivalency tests in the nation and is used in seven states, according to Bard.

She said she can not say enough about how impressive this year’s group of graduates is.

“Each one of them has worked incredibly hard to be graduating on Tuesday evening, facing challenges that would have halted others,” Bard said. “They had to make uncomfortable choices to change their lives for the better. One of the best things about this group of graduates is that I know Mid-Maine Regional Adult Community Education is not their last step, but rather their first step to new journeys.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247


Posted by Shelley McGowan  on May 30, 2016

Resources for Veterans [RSU16 Adult Education ]

Are you a veteran, family member, or currently serving and transitioning from the military? 

The Bureau of Maine Veterans' Services has a great website to help you find answers to your questions about the state and federal benefits, services and programs available to you and your family.

Thank you for your service!


Posted by Jenny Rose  on May 24, 2016 | Read more in: News

ESL Students receive their Citizenship! [Gorham Adult Education]

Please join Gorham Adult Education in congratulating two of our English Language Learners on passing their Naturalization test and becoming US Citizens. We are so proud of their hard work and dedication.  



Ibrahim Idris with family members and his ELL tutor, Bea Brockman. Ibrahim is also a student at Portland Adult Education.



Hanad Nyu is a student in our ELL College Transitions program.


Posted by Barbara Quinn-Gagnon  on May 24, 2016 | Read more in: News

Earn money teaching your talents [Lake Region & Fryeburg Area Adult Education]

Are you interested in sharing what you are passionate about with other adults?

Are you a current or retired academic teacher or hobbyist looking for part time work to share your experience while helping others learn?

Consider teaching a personal enrichment or academic class with Lake Region & Fryeburg Area Adult Education.

An enrichment class can be a one-time event, or it can meet regularly over several weeks. Academic instruction occurs in a variety of formats, locations, and times. Classes are held at your local school or another location such as your library or community center.

Email your class proposals or questions about any of our programs to or call us for more information at 207-627-4291.


Posted by AE Admin  on May 22, 2016

Bev Morin, Optimist Club Student of the Month! [RSU16 Adult Education ]

The Mechanic Falls, Minot and Poland Tri-Town Optimist Club is proud to announce its RSU 16 Student of the Month recipient for May, Beverly Morin.  Beverly, a student at RSU 16 Adult Education, embodies the Optimist Creed every day with her smiling, can-do attitude and her ongoing generosity and encouragement to others.  Her faithful attendance and willingness to try anything, all while juggling work and life's hurdles, make her an excellent role model for students and staff alike.  Congratulations Beverly!  

(Pictured L to R, Teacher Sue Lasselle, student Beverly Morin, and Club President Jeff Gagnon.)


Posted by Jenny Rose  on May 17, 2016 | Read more in: News

Partnership with Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter [Mid-Maine Regional Adult Community Education]

Our partnership with the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter continued to produce noticeable outcomes.  Mid-Maine Regional Adult Community Education presents Career Development Workshop classes at the shelter on Thursday and Friday mornings.  The classes focus on resume writing and interviewing skills, as well as job searches.

We are please to report that in 2015 more than 184 shelter guests participated in the Career Development Workshop, and at least 62 guests were employed while participating in the workshop.  We look forward to continuing our work with the shelter in the coming year. 


Posted by Shelley McGowan  on May 9, 2016

Kim Lindlof awarded Board Member of the Year at the Waterville Main Street Annual Award Celebration. [Mid-Maine Regional Adult Community Education]


  Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce
Our own Kim Lindlof awarded Board Member of the Year at the Waterville Main Street Annual Award Celebration. Congrats, Kim! We are so proud of you!

Congratulations to Kim Lindlof!  Kim is a member of the Mid-Maine Regional Adult Community Education advisory board.  She brings so much to our organization!  We are grateful she is on our team!


Posted by Shelley McGowan  on May 7, 2016