JMG group attends Hall of Flags event

4 years ago

AUGUSTA, Maine — Caribou JMG students visited the State House Hall of Flags in Augusta to meet with state and community leaders, lawmakers and students, who gathered March 5 to hear the results of a year-long study on the impact the JMG Program has had on thousands of students each year.

Dr. Valerie Ann Waldemarson, the Caribou High School JMG specialist, said recently that JMG is Maine’s only education-based, statewide nonprofit offering a continuum of support to students from middle school through post-secondary education and on to career pathways.

Aroostook County has six high school programs in Caribou, Houlton, Hodgdon, Presque Isle, Fort Fairfield and Fort Kent. There is only one college success program at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. Waldemarson said she is hopeful that one day there will be more such programs in The County.

“This event was a great opportunity for students to hear the successes of JMG and to meet and speak with community and leaders, lawmakers, and to experience state government firsthand,” Waldemarson said.

“President of the Senate, Troy Jackson, welcomed us into his office and provided a tour of the Senate and House of Representatives. President Jackson shared with the students why he is such an avid supporter of JMG and also let the students know how proud he was of all of the work they are doing in their community.”

The students also shared the day with Superintendent of Caribou and Fort Fairfield Schools, Tim Doak. The students expressed gratitude for his support and for being there with them on this special day.  

Jackson posted to his Facebook page, “After 25 years, JMG is proving to be a successful way to reach and champion students, who might otherwise get left behind. JMG recognizes the potential in every student and keeps them engaged in their school, community and ultimately the workforce. It was great to welcome some JMG Students from Caribou High School to the State House today. Great kids with bright futures ahead. I look forward to having them back!”

For 23 consecutive years JMG has earned recognition for its high student outcomes, including a 92 percent high school graduation rate, said Waldemarson. She cited research showing, for example, that 17 percent of students with disabilities drop out of high school every year, and 10 percent have college degrees six years later. Prospects for youth in foster care are even worse, with fewer than 3 percent graduating from college.

“JMG serves hundreds of students with these same barriers, and the research shows JMG is making a difference,” she said. After identifying a group of more than 27,000 students with disabilities enrolled in high school between 2005 and 2013, results showed that students who enroll in JMG are 17 percent more likely to graduate than students with disabilities who are not JMG participants.”