William Stickney Pittsfield Adult Learning Center Graduation
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The 43 graduates of the William Stickney Pittsfield Adult Learning Center (WSPALC) walked proudly in their decorated black caps to receive their diplomas on Thursday evening.
Families, friends, faculty, and staff gathered in the Taconic High School auditorium to celebrate the graduates who earned their adult diplomas or passed the General Educational Development Test or High School Equivalency Test.
Throughout the night speakers shared their stories on how their time at the center gave them the confidence and drive to achieve their dreams.
The word "dropout" should not be stigmatized; it is just choosing to follow a different path, graduate Evonne Bryce Cormier Barnett said.
Barnett said due to anxiety, depression, and borderline personality disorder, the high school experience felt overwhelming and stressful. So she chose a different path and graduated from the center the same year she dropped out of Pittsfield High School.
The center made her feel supported and confident that she would be able to attain her goals.
"I knew that there were bigger and greater things for me. I still am continuing to get to those things and doing what I need to do in my future to become successful in my own mind," Barnett said.
"No one else can tell me what 'successful' is for me."
Adult Diploma Graduate Victoria D. Hunter echoed these comments adding that after withdrawing from Taconic High School no matter where she went, whether it was school or in life, she felt or was told that she was not "awesome."
At the WSPALC she learned that she was capable and hopes to pursue education so she can inspire and encourage others the way some educators did for her.
WSPALC Alumna Laura Cabrera shared this sentiment adding that the center provided her a role model and mentor that showed her that hard work pays off.
After attending the center she learned that she was the only one responsible for making her dreams come true.
Cabrera is active in the Berkshire Community, being a founding member of multiple organizations including Latina413, Amor A Nuestras Raíces (Love to our Roots, and Yo Soy Arte (I am Art). She was named one of Berkshire Magazine's 25.
Cabrera said she remembers seeing her mother struggle to write her name without an opportunity to get an education.
Cabrera's mother volunteered and taught Cabrera the importance of caring for the people around her and helping others with respect and kindness. Her mother's example is what drove Cabrera to pursue a career in human resources.
She said she knew at a very young age that in order to move forward with her life and follow her mother's lessons she had to move to the United States otherwise her future would be restrained to getting married and having kids
So Cabrera left Veracruz, Mexico to create a better life for herself and her family.
Graduate Patricia McFall said she was also told that she would never be able to go back to school.
Despite these remarks, she continued to work hard through challenges including surviving domestic abuse and raising her three-year-old as a single mother.
She said she attended the center under the recommendation of the Elizabeth Freeman Center.
McFall intends to attend Berkshire Community College in the fall with the hopes of becoming a therapist so she can help others who feel isolated, she said.
The William Stickney Scholarship Award:
Nicole Leigh Bouchard,
Victoria D. Hunter,
Patricia Maria Mcfall
The Linda Hermanski Award:
Reina Lisseth Esperanza
The Roselie Jean-Louis ALC All Star Award:
Distinguished Alumna Award and Remarks
*Adult Diploma Program Graduate
Evonne Bryce Cormier Barnett*
Amma S. Blaisdell
Nevaeh K. Borden
Nicole Leigh Bouchard
Paulina Marie Currier
Erica Jasmine Davis*
Rebecca Ann Renee Derouin
River William Dunsay
Reina Lisseth Esperanza
Taylor Rose Foley
Melissa I. Forte
Damon J.B. Foster
Jasmine Mariah Froebel
Cody M. Garanzuay
Isabella Marie Girard
Brianna Rose Goodrich*
Marissa Chelsea Grogan
Elizabeth Ivanna Hammond
Seth C. Horton, Jr.
Victoria D. Hunter *
Candace Elaine Hyder
Nathan James Loftus
Fernando Javier Lopez
Patricia Maria Mcfall
Arlo R. Merelle
Ashton Damien Murch
Jaden Elan Ouellette
Carmen Maribel Perez Tenecora
Gabriel John Paul Ali Perusse
Charysh Noel Diamond Pettijohn*
Jinx R. Pratt
Shane T. Scipione
Lubia S. Snow
Tabitha J. Stanton*
Emily Elizabeth Thiede
Austin Michael Twing
Adrianna Evangleina Urquizo
Savanah N. Wheeler