Hassam Djama, congratulates his cousins, Nimo Moussa with a touch to her shoulder and Aicha Ali, in front of her. The two were lined up for the Lewiston Adult Education graduation in the Lewiston High School gymnasium on Tuesday evening.

LEWISTON — Mohamud Ibrahim was among the graduates Tuesday night as Lewiston Adult Education held its annual graduation at Lewiston High School.

Adult Education Director Bill Grant said 55 graduates, ages 18 to 60, received their high school diplomas or equivalencies; on Tuesday night 30 of them marched in the graduation ceremony.

“They come from all walks of life,” he said. Some are natives of Maine; some are natives of foreign lands.

Ibrahim, 34, was born in Somalia, grew up in Kenya, and has been in Lewiston for nearly two years.

“I am very happy,” he said before the ceremony. “My next plan is to go to college.”

He’ll continue his education while working at Walmart and raising a family, he said.

Fatuma Hussein, executive director of the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine, was the guest speaker, according to a Lewiston Adult Education press release.  She told of her journey to the United States and talked about future challenges, including the importance of being courageous, never losing hope and giving back.

Christelle Kasongo, a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was the student speaker, sharing lessons in learning American English, according to the press release. Kasongo is fluent in six languages: French, English, Swahili, Lingala, Tshiluba and Kikongo. Lingala.

Lewiston’s Adult Education program is the largest in Androscoggin County. This year, 3,000 students took courses, about half took academic, workforce courses and classes to learn English; the other half took enrichment courses, including rug hooking, cooking and learning how to be a stand-up comedian.

In addition to traditional academic and enrichment classes, Adult Education offers “integrated education program” classes to give students job skills.

For example, IEP classes for business skills, CNA and construction courses give students job skills. To develop the IEP classes, “we work with employers to develop training specific to employment needs,” Grant said. With the construction classes, “we knew there was a need of construction workers. We went to employers and found out their needs and developed training based on that.”

The construction jobs are entry level.

“It could be helping to frame windows, roofing, site maintenance,” Grant said. “A large component of the training is safety.” 

The Adult Education graduations are inspiring, Grant said. “The biggest thing I like is the individual stories and how people got there. It’s always remarkable how everybody got to where they are.”

Grant is also director of Auburn Adult Education. At the June 9 Auburn Adult Education graduation, graduate speaker Bill Cookson compared getting his high school education “to his climbing Mount Everest,” Grant said.

Completing their high school education “is life-changing,” Grant said.

“They share this with their kids and to motivate their kids,” he said. “It opens up career and education opportunities.”

Before the ceremony, the graduates, like most graduates, were nervous, Grant said. He often hears them say, ‘Did you ever think I was going to make it?’ 

He tells them yes.

[email protected]

LEWISTON — Mohamud Ibrahim was among the graduates Tuesday night as Lewiston Adult Education held its annual graduation at Lewiston High School.

Adult Education Director Bill Grant said 55 graduates, ages 18 to 60, received their high school diplomas or equivalencies.

“They come from all walks of life,” he said. Some are natives of Maine; some are natives of foreign lands.

Ibrahim, 34, was born in Somalia, grew up in Kenya, and has been in Lewiston for nearly two years.

“I am very happy,” he said before the ceremony. “My next plan is to go to college.”

He’ll continue his education while working at Walmart and raising a family, he said.

Lewiston’s Adult Education program is the largest in Androscoggin County. This year, 3,000 students took courses, about half took academic, workforce courses and classes to learn English; the other half took enrichment courses, including rug hooking, cooking and learning how to be a stand-up comedian.

In addition to traditional academic and enrichment classes, Adult Education offers “integrated education program” classes to give students job skills.

For example, IEP classes for business skills, CNA and construction courses give students job skills. To develop the IEP classes, “we work with employers to develop training specific to employment needs,” Grant said. With the construction classes, “we knew there was a need of construction workers. We went to employers and found out their needs and developed training based on that.”

The construction jobs are entry level.

“It could be helping to frame windows, roofing, site maintenance,” Grant said. “A large component of the training is safety.” 

The Adult Education graduations are inspiring, Grant said. “The biggest thing I like is the individual stories and how people got there. It’s always remarkable how everybody got to where they are.”

Grant is also director of Auburn Adult Education. At the June 9 Auburn Adult Education graduation, graduate speaker Bill Cookson compared getting his high school education “to his climbing Mount Everest,” Grant said.

Completing their high school education “is life-changing,” Grant said.

“They share this with their kids and to motivate their kids,” he said. “It opens up career and education opportunities.”

Before the ceremony, the graduates, like most graduates, were nervous, Grant said. He often hears them say, ‘Did you ever think I was going to make it?’ 

He tells them yes.

[email protected]

 

Mohamud Ibrahim

“I am very happy.” — Mohamud Ibrahim, Lewiston Adult Education graduate 

Auburn Adult Education graduates move their tassels during the June 9 ceremony.


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