“Mike is that star student we all want on our rosters,” said VAL teacher Joy Gaine. “Homework? Done. Appointments? On time. Hard-working? You bet! Even with a full time job and a house full of kids….he is determined and nothing will stop him from reaching his goals.”
Mike dropped out of high school in 2004. He is determined to earn his high school diploma and is working, diligently, at VAL to achieve this goal. He works as a salesperson at Fisher Auto Parts, is married and has four children. He started his first “real” job mowing lawns when he was eleven-years-old.
“I want to be a role model to show my kids that it is never too late to finish school or achieve your dreams,” Mike said. “I also want to teach them to finish school while they are young and not when they are older because it’s a lot harder to get your high school diploma when you’re working a full-time job and going to school at the same time.”
VAL’s High School Completion Program offers flexibility in course choices as students work towards meeting Vermont’s graduation requirements. Mike particularly enjoyed his forensics class with Nancy Davis. He credits the class with helping him determine his current career goal: to become a police officer.
“VAL helped me learn that I can do anything I want if I put my mind to it,” Mike said.” I also learned that I actually don’t mind reading books, which I never used to enjoy at all. I am most proud of the Civil Rights projects I had to do because I had to read five books, but it turned out that I actually got to see different sides of the Civil Rights movement I never knew about.”
“VAL helped me set goals for myself and stay motivated, especially when I wanted to just give up,” Mike said. “Every time I would finish a class and get a credit it gave me hope so I would try harder and finish my work before I was supposed to be done with the class.”
“Lori Carswell and Joy Gaine are two teachers who have helped me through all the hard times and gave me hope by not letting me give up as much as I wanted to,” Mike said. “They pushed me to keep going and I owe a Big Thank You to them.”
Mike is on track to graduate this month. He started a new job as a security officer at Dartmouth Hospital—a strategic step in working towards his goal of becoming a police officer.
“Vermont Adult Learning is a very good school that works with you and has teachers who care about their students, by encouraging them to stay on track,” Mike said. “One thing I really appreciated at Vermont Adult Learning was that you could go at your own pace if you needed to and the teachers worked around your work schedule. For example, I had Mondays off and Vermont Adult Learning is closed on Mondays (virtual services available) but the teachers were more than willing to meet me on Zoom for class or in person to help me finish my classes.”
“Mike’s new employers will soon discover how lucky they are,” Joy Gaine said. “We will miss him when he graduates, but hats off to Mike!”