Houlton Region

Houlton-Hodgdon Adult and Community Education celebrates online graduates

HOULTON, Maine — It is never too late to graduate. When schools across Maine closed in March for face-to-face instruction, adult education programs followed suit, but quickly adapted to distance learning opportunities. 

The Houlton-Hodgdon Adult and Community Education program connected with students in a number of ways to help them on their pathway to graduate.

“I knew I always wanted to finish my diploma, and the timing actually worked out very well for me” commented Samantha Clemmer, a graduate of the 2019-20 school year for Houlton Hodgdon Adult and Community education. “As a professional photographer, my wedding sessions were changed dramatically by COVID-19. I had more time to finally focus on my goal to finish high school, and I was able to work 100 percent online, at my pace. HHACE was very helpful in making this happen.”

“It was a pleasure working with Samantha,” stated Joe Fagnant, director of HHACE. “She reached out to us by email, we were able to start the intake process right away remotely, and request her transcripts from her former high school. We analyzed her needs, and got her started in an online program that worked for her.”

“Not graduating has always been on my mind. It really was a great feeling of accomplishment to graduate ” said Clemmer.

“We meet students with many different backgrounds, barriers, and needs. We make every effort to connect with our students and know we can help them in their program of choice,” added Ken Ervin, HHACE assistant director. “We hear a lot of similar stories of not being able to finish high school due to challenges. We meet the students where they are, and set up individualized programs for them. Now we are just doing it through distance learning and other creative ways that work for the students.”

As the pandemic continues, and schools are making decisions about returning to face to face instruction, HHACE will follow the guidelines established by RSU 29 and also adhere to the requirements set forth by UMPI for the Houlton Higher Education Center.

“We are currently meeting students to begin the intake process at the Higher Education Center, using social distancing, masks, and safety protocols to set up their program”, said Fagnant. “We do not have face-to-face instruction yet, but are working with our staff and partnering with other adult education programs in Aroostook County to deliver distance learning support. We have been open and will continue to help students attain their diploma or prepare for college. We know our students and staff miss the face-to-face instruction and special connections they get when working in our classroom. For now, we are working in a variety of ways to meet the needs of our students and will remain flexible moving forward.”

The staff of HHACE congratulates the 2019-2020 graduates: Storey Beaulieu, Noah Bindar, Troy Blier, Nathan Burridge, Samantha Clemmer, Joe Dobbins, Robert Emerson, Rebecca Helm, Zachary Hitchcock, Angelina Jones, Lance Labreck, Jamie Lee, Simon Livesey, Anthony Lovely, Joe Lundy, River Miller, Corey Raymond, Alan Raymond, Jerald Schuerwater and Justin Steggall.

If you have questions regarding finishing high school or other programs offered at HHACE call 521-3100 ext 5, visit www.rsu29-70.maineadulted.com, or find us on facebook.

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your 4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.