“Dear guests, thank you for taking your precious time to attend this ceremony today. It is an honor. Your attendance adds joy to our joy because no graduation is complete without the participation of parents and friends. This day is a great opportunity to give thanks to our distinguished teachers for their continuous efforts and support to help us reach this day to achieve our goals.
I would like to share my experience. I am from Iraq. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture from the University of Baghdad. Because of the war and confrontation in my country, I left Iraq in 2014 looking for peace. I left all my goals and dreams there.
I came to Maine as a refugee and I struggled to integrate into the American community. I faced the challenge of speaking English and building a new community. It was not easy for me to find myself alone and disappointed in a new community with different people and different cultures.
Attending Portland Adult Education was a turning point in my life. Enrolling in this school helped me to integrate into the American community and make new friends. Level 4 was the first class I took. With the teachers’ inspiration, I developed step by step until I improved my language.
Teacher Heather ranks high among the teachers who inspired and encouraged me to improve my reading and writing skills. She is the best teacher I have ever seen. She didn’t waste time. Every moment in her class was worthwhile.
Another teacher who inspired me and helped me earn Math credits for my diploma was Jill Gorneau. She is a great Math teacher. I love her. She made me like Math after I took her class. If you enjoy what you study, you can become adept at it.
But my dreams were greater than just improving my English. I have a dream of getting a Master’s Degree in Agriculture. Anja Hanson, Academic Advisor at PAE, was the person who helped me to open the path into achieving this dream. She encouraged me to get a high school diploma and she gave me important advice and guidance to get ready for college. I promise myself that I will do my best to achieve this dream.
Success has a great impact upon a person in all stages of life, especially if the person is surrounded by moral support to achieve set goals. Portland Adult Education supports students getting ready for college through the provision of qualified teachers and a great academic curriculum to earn a diploma or pass the HiSet test. I was one of those students. The goal is to build a positive generation that elevates its society.
Wise management, great teachers, and continuous support in achieving goals, this is what Portland Adult Education means. We are now like a great family; loving brothers and sisters who are embraced by Portland Adult Education, our great beautiful mother.
My advice to all students today is: Don’t give up and don’t shy away from achieving your goals despite all the circumstances and challenges that you may face in your life. Even if you fail the first time, stand up and try again. Failure is the first step to success and things are possible if you believe.
I want to express my thanks and gratitude to everyone who supported me spiritually to be here today: My parents, my husband, my children, my teachers and dear colleagues. Thank you for being in my life.”
Please visit our Facebook page for photos of the graduation.