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