Family members and friends waited anxiously to celebrate the accomplishments of their loved ones as they processioned toward the Western Connecticut State University Visual & Performing Arts Center main stage to receive their diplomas.
June 14 will be a day to remember in the lives of forty WERACE high school, six GED high school graduates, and two students who concluded their citizenship classes.
“Our main message is always the same. No matter what obstacles get in your way, stay focused to the goal ahead and graduate, and you all have done that here today,” said Mr. Terence Cunningham, WERACE Regional Director.
Mr. Cunningham inspired the students by reminding them of the life challenges and ups-and-downs that almost made some give up on their dreams. He also emphasized their efforts to get their education, and the paramount support of people sitting in the audience, “Your moms, your dads, your grandmas, your granddads, aunties, uncles, friends, significant others, your teachers, and staff of adult education – someone in this audience has laid the foundation for your success.”
Two musical performances by teachers Peter Caswell and Mel Bakach received a standing ovation from the students and the audience.
Touching stories of struggles were shared by some of the graduates. “I know your stories because your stories have, in many cases, been my story, so I know what you overcome to get here,” shared Dr. William Glass, Danbury Public Schools Deputy Superintendent. “On behalf of the Danbury Public Schools and the Danbury Board of Education, from the bottom of our hearts, we are so proud of you, because you have had a harder row to hoe than most other folks and yet you did it!”
Emanuela Palmares, Tribuna editor and vice-president of the non-profit organization, The New American Dream Foundation, and a member of the Danbury Board of Education, shared with the students a story that they could relate to.
“I want to tell you guys about a person that you have a lot in common with. Her name is Liz Bacelar. She is currently the CEO of a multimillion dollar company… She is someone who just met with the manager of creative brands for Walmart and is guiding him in the process of how to become more tech innovative. She is right now in Poland moderating a panel, interviewing the first human-like robot in the world. She is also an alumna of this program, and she is my sister.”
“As she went through the journey that you are going through today, I was six years younger looking up to her…Let no one define your works and your potential by the roads less traveled that you took to get here today. You too can be a multimillion dollar millionaire travelling the world, innovating technologies, changing everything you see…”
The speeches were followed by the presentation of diplomas by guidance counselors Dr. Joanne Brogis and Gianfranco Broccolo, and a reception open to all attendees.
For complete photography coverage, please visit www.TribunaCT.com.
Western Connecticut Regional Adult and Continuing Education (WERACE) is located at 10 Crosby Street in Danbury. It is a regional program that provides FREE state-mandated adult education services to adults 17 years of age and older. It provides a full range of free adult education programs, including high school completion, GED preparation and ESL instruction, to adults who live in the towns of Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, Newtown, Redding and Ridgefield.
WERACE programs address basic literacy needs and teach the necessary skills to transition to higher education, training or employment. The mission of WERACE is to promote learning as a lifelong process. They strive to provide learners with the necessary tools to be successful citizens, workers, family members and parents in today’s world.
For more information, please call 203.797.4731.