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Student speaker encourages Lewiston Adult Education grads to be determined

LAE Director Bill Grant (l.) and Adult Learning Center Coordinator Laurie Champagne listen as student speaker Joao Massela addresses the graduates.

The student speaker at the recent Lewiston Adult Education graduation ceremony urged his classmates to think of themselves as strong as an elephant when taking on new challenges.

The group of 27 students received their high school equivalency degrees in a ceremony in the Lewiston High School gymnasium. Student speaker Joao Massela stressed the importance of determination.

“Being strong and determined means facing the problem and working to solve it, rather than crying and looking for the easy way,” he said. Massela told the audience that he took inspiration from his middle name, “Zau,” which means “elephant.”

“I want you to be like an elephant too,” he said. “I would like you to see yourself as strong, no matter the obstacle in front of you. Think that you can make it, and never give up.”

Massela, who emigrated to the United States from Angola, can speak Portuguese and French, but had to learn English before trying to get his high school certification through Lewiston Adult Education. He thanked his teachers, including Laurie Champagne, Mark Schlotterbeck, Don Roux, and Amy Hatch, for helping him.

Massela also won the Courage to Grow Award from Central Maine Community College.

Esther Kilongo won the Maine Adult Education Association Award. The winner of the award has tuition waived for one course at CMCC in the fall semester.

Instructor Don Roux was recognized for his role in assisting the 5,000th GED-HiSET graduate at Lewiston Adult Education. Roux helps students prepare before they take their high school equivalency exam.

The students received their high school equivalency by successfully taking the HiSET exam through Lewiston Adult Education. They received lessons and academic support to prepare for the exam,
which in Maine has replaced the GED.

Lewiston Superintendent Bill Webster spoke at the end of the ceremony and encouraged graduates to persevere as they pursue their goals.

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