This month our Spotlight is on an SCAE staff member who provides critical assistance to students. Jeanne MacDonald-Johnson, our Student Resources Advisor, helps SCAE students with life issues and challenges that may get in the way of attaining their educational goals.
These may include food, clothing and housing needs. Physical and mental health issues. Substance abuse issues. Transportation needs. Help with child care. Fortunately, Sanford-Springvale has many community resources that Jeanne can direct people towards. For example, the Community Action Program based in Sanford addresses many critical needs including housing, child care and transportation. Nasson Health Care, located near SCAE’s offices, offers low-income medical, mental health and dental assistance. Jeanne stays on top of what services and resources are available in our communities.
“Basically, when students feel that life is starting to get in the way, they come to see me,” Jeanne says.
By going that extra step, SCAE can help students stay on track to meet their academic goals.
Jeanne also teaches English and music to SCAE students seeking their diploma. She started working at SCAE five years ago, when, as a new mom, she was looking for a job with some flexibility. She also has worked at SCAE as a Family Literacy Coordinator.
Jeanne, a native of Old Orchard Beach, with degrees in music education and performance, has found a great fit with SCAE. She says she experiences rewards every day she is working. “Every day, I get to witness my students growing in skills and confidence, and that is outstanding,” she says. “I enjoy having the opportunity to support my students in their successes and challenges.”
"Jeanne extends support that is really important to many of our students, who are often juggling many other life obligations as well as taking classes at SCAE," says Allen Lampert, SCAE's director. "She keeps up to date on all the community resources that are available. By helping our students with their essential needs, we are making it easier for them to attain their educational goals."
Posted by Sue Colley on February 13, 2019
Linda Lavertu Has Enjoyed a Long Career With SCAE
Nearly 30 years ago, Springvale native Linda Lavertu was looking for teaching opportunities, after being at home raising her children when they were young. “When I decided to return to teaching, I chose to work at SCAE,” Linda says. “I knew several people who had attended and/or worked there, and they had great things to say about the program. I was offered a job, was up for the challenge, and the rest is history!”
Over the past 29 years Linda has taught reading, writing and mathematics classes. Currently, her focus is on teaching math. “I really enjoy teaching math,” Linda says. “Many students did not have good math experiences in school. I try to get them involved and interested through participation, hands-on projects and I always connect math skills to the real world. Paying attention to students’ needs, building self-confidence and letting them know you care does amazing things.”
Linda, a graduate of Sanford High School and Plymouth State College in New Hampshire, lives in Sanford with her husband of 41 years, Tom. The couple has two sons and two granddaughters.
Even though she has been with SCAE for nearly three decades, Linda still brings excitement to her job. She says the challenges of teaching math to adults – some who may have been out of school for many years – has been very rewarding. “To help students learn, grow and succeed is so gratifying and wonderful,” she says. “They accomplish things they never thought they would with our help and by working very hard.
Linda particularly enjoys the sense of teamwork she feels at SCAE. “We have a terrific staff, and we all work together to do what's best for our students,” she says.
Linda particularly enjoys the program’s graduation ceremonies. “I think SCAE graduations say it all,” she says. “Some students go on to college, some get jobs and some take more classes with us. Some of our students just want to be able to say they have a high school diploma or high-school equivalency. No matter what the circumstance, every students feels so good about him/herself and what they have accomplished. When you know you have helped, that’s what teaching is all about.”
SCAE Director Allen Lampert is glad Linda has made a career working for the adult education program. “Linda has always provided our program outstanding instruction and cares deeply about our students,” he says. “SCAE has been incredibly lucky to have her on our team.”
Posted by Lisa Blanchette on January 2, 2019 | Read more in: News
Sophorn Heak is well known to her teachers at Sanford Community Adult Education. It’s not just because she works hard. Sophorn goes the extra step.
“She never leaves class without saying ‘Thank you’,” says SCAE instructor Barbara Curran. Sophorn is also known for taking in a homemade treat to share with the class.
Sophorn, who is 53, is also remarkable because although she has raised four children and has a job she loves, she is doing something she feels compelled to do for herself. She wants a high school diploma. “I want it for my own self-satisfaction,” Sophorn says.
Math classes have come easily to Sophorn, and now she is finishing up her credits with English classes. English is more of a challenge, as she grew up speaking Cambodian. Her parents came to Portland from Cambodia, where Sophorn grew up.
Over the years Sophorn married, raised four children, and worked hard. When she and her husband moved to Sanford, she went to work at Vishay Sprague. When the company closed, Sophorn found work at Pratt & Whitney in North Berwick. She loves working there, where she is on second shift. This leaves her morning available for her classes at SCAE. She is hoping she will be able to receive her Diploma in 2019.
Sophorn says she has felt very supported by the teachers at SCAE, who have demonstrated respect and kindness. She says of her experiences with SCAE: “I love it.”
The feeling is mutual. “Sophorn is a friendly and genuinely kind individual,” says Barbara Curran. “Her interactions with other students is both admirable and beneficial. She is willing to share her customs and culture with them and is truly interested in learning about theirs.” Barbara also admires Sophorn’s desire to learn. “She feels there is nothing more important than learning,” Barbara says. “Whether it be academic or social. She has overcome many obstacles in order to achieve the success she has already attained. She welcomes a challenge and adheres to the task through completion.”
As for Sophorn’s academic goals, the high school diploma might be the start of something more. When asked if she plans to attend college, she smiles and says, “I don’t know yet.” Chances are pretty good some lucky college instructors will be enjoying some homemade treats, in due time.
Posted by Lisa Blanchette on December 3, 2018
SCAE Spotlight: Jose Rodriguez
Talk about right brain and left brain integration! This month’s SCAE Spotlight subject, computer instructor Jose Rodriguez Jr., is adept at teaching the fine points of computer technology and applications – and he also spends hours in the more abstract realm of making art.
Jose started teaching computer classes for SCAE in August 2017. He teaches Computer Literacy, Computer Applications and Advanced Computer Applications. (He will also be teaching the College & Career Skills course this winter term.)
Before he started working for SCAE, Jose was a teaching assistant at Maine College of Art in Portland, where he earned a Master’s of Fine Art in Studio Art in 2017. Jose earned a B.A. in Liberal Studies, with a concentration in marketing and graphic design, from California State University in 2012. He then started his career as a freelance graphic designer for clients in New York City and Los Angeles. At first, his clients were mostly from the corporate world. “A few years into that, I shifted the focus of my graphic freelance services towards more non-profit work,” Jose says. He quickly landed a position as a lead graphic designer at a major non-profit in L.A. “This was probably the height of my career as a graphic designer,” he says. “After two-plus years in that position, I decided to get my master’s. That’s how I got to Maine.”
Jose, whose grandparents’ fled Cuban dictator Fidel Castro’s regime in the 1960s, is a native of northern New Jersey. He currently lives in Sanford, and he calls Maine his “second home.”
Jose says his work at SCAE has been gratifying on several levels. “Teaching at SCAE has given me the opportunity to work with adult learners from all walks of life. It has been an absolute joy helping the younger and older and ‘in-between-ers’ transition toward their professional goals.”
Working for SCAE has also led Jose to embark on yet another educational goal. “Currently, I am also enrolled as a grad student at USM, in their Master of Science program in Adult & Higher Education Administration,” he says. His expected graduation date is December 2019.
Meanwhile, Jose is also a practicing artist who works mostly in “….non-traditional sculpture, installations/graphic art realms,” he says. He is looking forward to participating in two fine art shows that will be sponsored by SCAE in the spring. As Jose says, “Stay tuned!” SCAE feels lucky to have such a multi-faceted staff member. Stay tuned, indeed!
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SCAE Holds Workshop Days for Students and the Community!
October 2nd and 3rd, 2018, were very different than the usual class days at Sanford Community Adult Education. All daytime and night classes were transformed into workshops about colleges, employment, local social service agencies, self-care, and supporting family and friends with substance abuse disorders. Students, their families and friends, and other community members who attended chose between several options for each time block.
Presenters included representatives from York County Community College, University of Maine Augusta, University of Southern Maine, Sanford Institution for Savings, Goodwill Workforce Solutions, York County Community Action, and Strategies for a Stronger Sanford. Teachers and staff at SCAE also presented workshops on such diverse topics as job hunting tips, transitioning to college from adult education, managing your money, understanding math in the news, communication without technology, self-care-yoga, and a history of Sanford.
Particularly well-attended were two workshops called, “Supporting Family and Friends with Substance Abuse Disorders”, facilitated by Lynn Hatch of Strategies for a Stronger Sanford.
Another highlight was a panel of “Successful Former Adult Ed Students, which included Laura Miller, an R.N. who attended SCAE over 10 years ago; Jessica Rogers, who attended five years ago and is now a trainer for a medical records company; and Nathan Darigan, who graduated in June 2018 and is now attending SMCC in South Portland. These former students shared their stories of struggle and success.
Allen Lampert, Director at Sanford Community Adult Education commented. “This is our second year providing this service to the community. We are proud to be able to offer these workshops to our students and the community at-large, and we are looking forward to doing it again next year.”
Students arrived to coffee, breakfast pastries, and fruit. They were also provided with lunch and snacks throughout the day. There was ample break time between the sessions for participants to talk further with workshop presenters or each other. This was the second annual Student Workshop Days, and next year’s event is being planned.
Spotlight shines a light on the people who are part of the Sanford Community Adult Education community. Once a month we’ll introduce you to an instructor, staff member or student.
Our first Spotlight interview is with Kristin Fitzpatrick, the new Studio Coordinator for SCAE’s Arts Afire Studio. Kristin, a Kennebunk native, is a 2013 graduate of Maine College of Art in Portland, where she had a concentration in printmaking and a minor in public engagement.
Kristin brings extraordinary energy to this position, as she works to broaden the studio’s scope and its visibility. “I would like Arts Afire to be a hub,” she says. Kristin worked tirelessly through the summer to enhance the studio’s facilities, and to let more folks know the studio exists and is available for a variety of purposes.
Additions to the studio, which is in the SCAE suite on Bradeen Street, include a new drafting table, new silk-screening equipment and two pottery wheels. The equipment was either donated or sold at a reduced rate to SCAE, Kristin notes. She also received “donations” of time from others as she worked on making changes in the studio.
Kristin has been reaching out into local communities and connecting with people and organizations to let them know what the studio offers. As a result, Arts Afire is now going to be home to the Sanford-Springvale Art Association. She also connected with Greater Bay Services in Sanford, which will bring its clients to the studio. Most recently she has been discussing a collaborative project with the Sanford Trails group; she says the studio could be used to make signage to help the organization increase access and visibility.
Kristin is also letting people know that the studio is not solely a place where SCAE classes are held; it is also available to artists who need studio space. At just $8 an hour, it is an affordable option for local artists. Other offerings include individual or semi-private classes; an artist mentorship program and private art parties.
As for the classes being offered, Kristin says there is a wide variety of courses, with more focus on fine arts. Kristin will be teaching several classes; they include a general art class designed for young students ages eight through 13. She also came up with the idea of offering professional development classes for artists. “Professional Practices for Artists,” taught by Abby Dagget, is a five-week class that starts October 2.
Kristin believes that art-making can be accessible to all. “My personal take is that anyone and everyone is an artist,” she says. “There’s a lot of different ways to participate in the arts.”
Kristin also continues to nurture her own art career. She creates commissioned pieces, and she also exhibits her work. Most recently she was part of a show at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Portland. Kristin’s main focus at the moment, however, is Arts Afire. Here, Kristin is artfully using her creative energies to infuse the studio with new possibilities. To learn more about the classes and/or the facilities, visit www.SanfordLearns.org. You can also connect to Kristin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Posted by Sue Colley on December 7, 2017
By Shawn P. Sullivan / York County Coast Star Contributor
Posted Jun 7, 2018 at 2:09 PM Updated Jun 7, 2018 at 2:09 PM
SANFORD -- Wednesday was a big night for Sanford Community Adult Education’s Class of 2018 -- so exciting, in fact, that one of the graduates even managed to pull off what could be described as an academic hat trick.
SCAE graduate Nathan Darigan delivered one of the two student addresses to the audience gathered for the graduation ceremony at the Memorial Gym. He also was awarded a $500 scholarship and was presented with SCAE’s annual Outstanding Student Award.
It was a night of pride and achievement, of red and white caps and gowns, of victories for students who overcame obstacles to succeed in education and launch their futures.
In addition to Darigan, the following SCAE graduates attended the commencement and collected their diplomas on Wednesday evening: Linda Austin; Alexis Fagan; Davanah Fields; Amanda Gage-Hills; Guy Gilpatrick; Jordan Johnson; Jaclyn Paige Lipert; Jasmin Petroni; Chloe Plautz; Kassandra Starcher; Elizabeth Thibeault; Arrah Twohearts; and Jade Winchell.
And there were more graduates than met the eye: John Butler, Gage Cyr, Alfred DeMattia, Nicholas Ducharme, Daniel Gibson, Andrew Harris, Selena Kou, Patrick Roberts, Cassandra Scott, Jessey Stevens, Kathleen Tabb, Devyn Velush, and Corey Zuk did not attend the graduation ceremony but have all earned their diplomas.
As well, the following graduates are now Certified Nursing Assistants as a result of their hard work at SCAE: Jennifer Croteau; Ayla Flaherty-Wood; Shelby Goodrich; Elizabeth Griffin; Bethany Jones; Amanda Kiernan; Kami Maheu; Donna Marcus; Caitlyn Snyder; and Teresa Ziehler-Young.
The following graduates also have earned their employment certificates in their respective fields: Shelby Caron, in Web Design; Barbara Burdick and Suzanne Strout, in Excel; Frances Kelly, in Dental Assistance; Sankararoa Kalisetti, in Workplace Communication; Elizabeth Huot and Sherry Tysver, in Paralegal; Lisa Lambert, in Medical Billing; and Kimberly Parello and Kristie Sibley, in Medical Administrative Assistance.
It was even a memorable night for SCAE staff members. Director Allen Lampert recognized the years of service of three employees: Deb Thompson, who has been a teacher at SCAE for 20 years; Marketing and Advertising Coordinator Sue Colley, who also has been involved with SCAE for two decades; and Academic and Vocational Coordinator Lisa Blanchette, who has worked at SCAE for 30 years.
After the graduates marched through the gym to their seats to “Pomp and Circumstance,” Superintendent of Schools David Theoharides began the evening by telling everyone in the audience that he and Assistant Superintendent Matt Nelson had just last week attended a spring concert put on by local first-graders. The children, he said, waved to their families in the audience throughout the performance, and the families waved back too. Theoharides encouraged the SCAE graduates to rise, turn and face the audience and wave, and he invited families and friends to wave as well. Both sides complied in what was a fun, lighthearted moment.
Graduate Elizabeth Thibeault delivered one of the Student Messages. She thanked her family, especially her husband, who, she said, always made sure she did her homework. She thanked everyone at SCAE for all they had done for her. As well, Thibeault encouraged her fellow graduates to follow their dreams and “keep your education going” in pursuit of a well-paying job.
Thibeault told the audience that she was supposed to graduate with Sanford High’s Class of 1978 but was unable to continue her education at one point. She offered herself as proof that it is never too late to get one’s diploma and pursue one’s dreams.
“Forty years later, here I am!” she declared, to much applause from the audience.
As stated, Darigan delivered a Student Message, as well. He took a unique approach: he sang “The Cave,” a hit song by Mumford & Sons. SCAE had printed the lyrics on the back of the evening’s program, so that the audience could listen, follow the lyrics, and take their meaning on this special occasion.
Danielle Treadwell, the president of the Sanford-Springvale Rotary Club, presented the service organization’s two $500 scholarships to Linda Austin and Arrah Twohearts. Linda Kay Brown, a volunteer with York County Senior College’s curriculum committee, presented YCSC’s two $500 scholarships to Thibeault and Darigan.
Brian Sillon, the co-founder of Aroma Joe’s, a popular coffee-based enterprise with three sites in Sanford, served as the occasion’s guest speaker. Sillon, a 1990 graduate of Noble High School, charted his own career path, noting his achievements but also those moments when he paid his dues by working at basic jobs in which his skills and talents were not necessarily needed.
“There is a reason that you’re there,” Sillon said, referring to those moments on the so-called lower rungs of the employment ladder. “Keep going.”
Sillon also shared the story of how Aroma Joe’s started and has since thrived.
Sillon told the graduates there are three important things in life: health; the support of family and friends; and passion and drive, not for money and power, but for one’s dreams and values. He also encouraged the graduates to speak up for themselves in life, to treat others as they would like to be treated, and to appreciate today, as “tomorrow is promised to no one.”
“There are going to be challenges,” Sillon said. “I encourage you to work through them.”
Both Lampert and School Committee Chairman John Roux offered congratulations and words of inspiration to the graduates.
Lampert praised the men and woman clad in caps and gowns, recognizing that most of them had been unable to complete high school for assorted reasons but had maintained the qualities that made them special and assured them future success.
“They are survivors,” Lampert said of the graduates. “They keep coming back to us. They don’t give up.”
Roux praised the power of positive thinking and encouraged the graduates to look back on their journeys and then challenge themselves to continue shaping their futures.
“You’ve all traveled different paths to get here, but the most important thing is that you made it,” Roux said. “Congratulations.”
Posted by Sue Colley on July 28, 2016
SCAE is now offering a full menu of corporate training programs to meet the needs of local Sanford/Springvale businesses both small and large. Having worked with local companies like Waban, Southern Maine Health Care, and Nasson Health Care, providing training in Microsoft Office and customer service, SCAE is expanding its program to the greater business community in Sanford and Springvale.
SCAE provides training in:
Microsoft Office applications
Please contact Lisa Blancette at email@example.com for more information
Posted by Sue Colley on July 23, 2015