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2019 Student of the Year Success

By Maria Huntington Supervisor of Adult Education Programs Capital Region BOCES

When summer comes to a close we all get bombarded with “back to school” initiatives. Most people think of school age kids getting on and off the bus, packing lunches, and all those extracurricular activities that fill up calendars so quickly. What doesn’t get a lot of attention are the adult learners who work to improve their lives by enrolling in an adult education program. Some enroll in High School Equivalency or English-as-a-Second-Language courses while others join Career and Technical programs. Whatever the course may be, these adult learners are looking for the next step to enrich their lives.

The ‘back to school’ season is also the time when NYACCE hosts its Student of the Year event. This joyous occasion highlights successful adults across New York State who have achieved their personal goals. For most of these adult learners, the struggle is real! Every day these adults have to overcome barriers like challenges with childcare, housing, food, addiction, assault, language barriers, and so much more. Yet they rise above- they show up, they do their homework, they participate, and it pays off! Motivational and moving stories abound from all of this year’s nominees and they are just a few of the many lives who have been changed through adult education.

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the people behind the scenes who make this event so successful. A huge thank you to Sue Diemert, Stephanie Bevacqua and their team from Orleans/Niagara BOCES. Your hard work never goes unnoticed, and we can’t thank you enough for putting this special occasion together.

NYACCE would also like to thank Deputy Commissioner Kevin Smith and NYS Director of ACCESS Adult Education Programs Robert Purga for attending the Student of the Year Event and for their continued support to NYACCE and the adults we serve.

It’s hard to put into words the impact Student of the Year has on everyone involved, but sometimes you don’t need words. All you need is to witness the smiles on the faces of the recipients, their families and their teachers. The tears in their eyes and the pride that they feel remind us of the success of adult education students across the state. These learners have been on an amazing journey and it is gratifying that the education community has the ability and resources to support them and to celebrate with them when they achieve their goals.

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