SULLIVAN — Adult education students celebrated their accomplishments at the RSU 24 Adult Education Center in Sullivan on Wednesday, June 15.
More than 25 students received their certificates of completion, certifying their hard work to complete their programs.
Among those speaking at the certificate ceremony was Ernie West, a retired Navy veteran and former employee at The Jackson Laboratory. West is also a former student at RSU 24 Adult Education, where he has received several certifications.
West teaches several certification courses, including first aid and CPR classes and hunter safety, firearm safety and ATV safety.
West spoke about his role as speaker for the ceremony, and what it personally meant to him to be a part of it.
“It was quite an honor for me because I went through the CNA class,” West said.
West congratulated the students and thanked those who earned certificates in health care for the important work they will be doing in their careers.
“Could not have been at a better time,” West said in his speech. “We really, truly need people out there.”
Several students who earned certificates shared their experience in adult education, and what their certificates mean for them personally, and for their careers.
Kristen Fowler and Joshua Carter both earned their certified nursing assistant (CNA) certificates, as well as their certified residential medication aide (CRMA) certificates. Fowler also was honored as a National Adult Education Honor Society inductee.
“These certifications I had when I was in the military,” said Carter, who attended the adult ed program for a recertification. “I’m proud of myself.”
Another student, Nicole Boutin, earned her certified clinical medical assistant (CCMA) certificate. Boutin got her certificate to pursue a new career, which she will begin soon now that she has completed her training.
“I just did my last shift as a CNA last night,” Boutin said. “I was hired on at Northern Light’s Walk-In Care in Ellsworth as a medical assistant, and I will start my orientation on the 27th.”
For Boutin, adult education is a way for her to advance her career and keep learning more within the health care field.
“It means advancement, I get to further my education in the health care field,” Boutin said. “There’s just always more to learn; it’s just incredible to be able to take each of the steps and learn a little bit more as you go.”
More than just health care certificates were being awarded. Students were also being presented with certificates for their college transition programs.
Shayna Engelhard, one of the college transition students, shared what completing this program means to her, and what she’ll do next with her certificate. She was also honored as a National Adult Education Honor Society inductee for her studies.
“Getting me ready to go to EMCC (Eastern Maine Community College) for their culinary program,” Engelhard said. “I’m currently taking classes to be a chef at EMCC Bangor, as well as a nutrition science degree. I plan on transferring to University of Maine to finish up my nutrition science part of that degree.”
Ander Thebaud, director of RSU 24 Adult Education, spoke about the many important reasons for adult education, and why different people utilize this resource for various reasons.
“Students come to adult education for all different reasons,” Thebaud said. “Some of you are training for a new career, some are upskilling for a different position, some need to build technology skills for their work, some are retraining for certifications from another country, some are veterans, and the list goes on.”
West also spoke afterward about the importance that the adult education program has to the community, and to the people who receive certificates.
“They’re doing a fantastic job,” West said. “A lot of the young folks with the CNA can use this as a stepping stone to something further.”