By SHERIDAN ROY
The 2019 Plainville adult education graduation ceremony celebrated the achievements of five graduating students along with the accomplishments and dedication of several adult students in the continuing education program on June 12.
Diplomas were awarded to Sierra Alicea, Olivia Guardarrama, Dustin Heinzman, Tynnasia Mills and Yomaira Taveras.
“It is my privilege to acknowledge the support of superintendent Dr. Maureen Brummett, assistant superintendent Steve LePage, board of education members, parents, friends, administration and staff,” said Mills in a welcoming statement. “Thank you for helping us achieve our goals.”
Several awards were handed out to students from the adult high school credit diploma program, as well as students of the adult and continuing education program.
In recognition of their dedication to their studies, their unique stories that brought them to where they are, and their sacrifices made in order to continue their education, the following students were recognized with awards: Dustin Heinzman, Vanso Lim, Gisela Baran, Suk Cousineau, Kyle Dougherty, Voctor Flores, Nurto Hassan, Alena Karnilovich, Ricardo Mayatoshi, Babubhai Patel, Nirmala Patel, Alba Nidia Toro, and Tynnasia Mills.
Keynote speaker Gary Smith, who has a background in engineering, engineering management and operations management and has since found an interest in speaking and writing, offered a message of inspiration for students.
“I want to talk to you about a very simple three-letter word: ‘try,’” said Smith. He called on a message from the new testament of the Bible: ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened. “If we were to go back to the original Greek translation, those three action words—ask, seek and knock—actually imply more than just simple actions. They imply ongoing actions. When you think of the word ‘try,’ I want you to think, ‘try and keep trying.’”
Smith shared a story about his two-year-old granddaughter Grace, who was born prematurely at 28 weeks and weighed only a pound. Grace recently overcame a fear—the big slide at the park.
“Every time they went to that park, it was like Grace was sizing up that slide—like she was trying to overcome it in her mind,” said Smith. A few weeks after Grace had adamantly refused to try, she took a leap of faith at another large slide, and succeeded.
“The first time, there was some fear, some tears, but she was okay,” said Smith.
Just a few weeks later, Grace took on the big challenge—the slide at the park—and again, succeeded.
“My daughter sent me a text that included a photo of Grace going down that slide, and enjoying every minute of it,” he said. “Afterwards, she said to my daughter, ‘Mommy, scary, fun!’ One of her fears has become one of the fun things she likes to do.”
Smith encouraged students to add five things to their daily “try”: make your bed every day, smile at yourself in the mirror each morning, say “I love you” to the most important people in your life, read a personal development book for 15 minutes a day, and pause each day and recall what you are thankful for.
The Plainville BOE, in compliance with state statutes, provides a planned program of studies for adult learners in the areas of high school completion, adult basic education, English as a second language, and American citizenship. The goal of the Plainville Adult and Continuing Education program is to provide equal opportunities for life-long learning that enrich the lives of students.
For more information on programs, visit plainvilleschools.org/departments/adult_ed or call (860) 793-3209.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.