Belfast Adult Education Celebrates Its Graduates

posted Jun 17, 2019, 4:04 AM by Betty Lu Davis

post Grad exuberance. Scotty and Ashlee.jpg

Belfast Adult Education Celebrates Its Graduates

You might be surprised to know that adult education graduates have goals that mirror those of traditional high school students:  Ashlee is committed to becoming a pediatric nurse. Alex plans to become an electrician. Odin has decided that he’ll go to college to study forensic science.  They are just three of the twelve students (of a total of thirteen) who participated in the Belfast Adult Education (BAE) annual graduation ceremony on the evening of Wednesday, June 5 in the Belfast Area High School gym.  All twelve students have ambitious college and/or career readiness goals and much cause to celebrate, having returned to school after significant life challenges interfered with the more traditional high school graduation pathway.


Wearing traditional caps and gowns, they marched to piano music performed by Lincoln Blake. They were welcomed onto the stage by BAE director, Darrell Gilman, BAE advisor, Marie Roberts, RSU 71 superintendent, Mary Alice McLean, and RSU 71 Board of Directors Chair, Caitlin Hills.


The ceremony included a message of congratulations from Superintendent McLean, who applauded students for achieving educational goals despite hardships they’d encountered along the way.  Two students, Ashlee Butler and Scotty Clark, stood at the podium to share the story of their educational journey. They described the tremendous obstacles they overcame before choosing an alternative educational pathway.  While their stories were unique and deeply personal, they highlighted the courage and resilience all adult learners must draw upon to accomplish goals that others often take for granted.  They also noted that caring relationships with adult ed staff gave them the confidence to see themselves as capable learners and the motivation to stick with the program.


As the ceremony drew to a close, the BAE advisor presented each student with a personal certificate describing their individual achievements, which was followed by the awarding of diplomas.  Students and their families gathered in the cafeteria to celebrate with cake, refreshments, and photo opportunities.


Graduates have reached this milestone by completing the High School Equivalency Test (commonly known as the HiSET) or by taking courses to complete the credits needed to receive their High School Diploma.  Some of the graduates have been working toward their graduation goal over a period of several years, while others have been able to graduate more quickly. 


The BAE graduating class list includes:  Michael Benjamin, Trapper Berard, Ashlee Butler, Scotty Clark, Alexander Cunningham, Corey Deschamps, Randy Elwell, II, Mazey McKeen, Loretta Mosher, Melinda O’Brien, Odin Scappaticci, Shylyn Skillings, and Wendall Tracy.


BAE provides year-round services in high school completion, workforce readiness, and college preparation for adult learners as well as one-on-one tutoring in reading, writing, math, and computer skills. If you are ready to start (or restart) your educational journey and work towards your goals with the support and guidance of a dedicated staff, take the next step and contact Belfast Adult Education at 338-3197. FMI, go to or look for the BAE brochure in your mailbox early this fall, when it is mailed to every residence in Waldo County.