The 2013 celebration of graduation for Northeast Kingdom Learning Services students, as well as their friends and family, was held June 27 in the newly remodeled Dancing Sail Banquet room at the Eastside Restaurant in Newport.
Markus Vogt, NEKLS Newport Community Learning Center Manager, opened the ceremony. Vogt made special mention and a moment of silence was held to honor the passing of a long time NEKLS employee, Jack Stouffer. Vogt went on to welcome Michelle Tarryk, executive director of NEKLS; Jerry Davis, president of PeakCM; Andre Messier, principle at Lake Region Union High School; and Sharon Parker, assistant director of education for the State of Vermont Agency of Education. He also thanked Linda Santaw and Nancy Smith for organizing the graduation, as well as Dena Gray, owner of the Eastside Restaurant, for the venue.
More than 55 spectators and 22 participating graduates listened to opening remarks by the speaker, Jerry Davis, the president and principal of PeakCM. Davis was introduced by Michelle Tarryk as a Vermont native who graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in civil engineering. His current projects include the QBurke Mountain Resort Hotel and Conference Center, QBurke Tennis & Aquatic Centers, most of the Jay Peak Expansion, Menck Windows and the AnC Biotech project.
Davis directed his energy to the graduates and presented a no-nonsense speech to them to get further in life by encouraging them to apply for positions they are qualified for. Once they get that job "you need to master that task and ask for more." He went on to say that was how he was able to succeed. Davis also encouraged the students to join organizations in the field in which they are interested, make contacts and keep them. He concluded with well wishes for their future and the advice that as they submit a resumÃ¨ for all of the jobs that are coming to this area "include qualifications that answer the job posting, and tell the prospective employer here's where I want to be in your company! This will take you from that bottom job all the way up the ladder. Don't just DO the job, LEARN it!"
The students were encouraged and supported by their teachers which was clear by the hugs and smiles of Chris Hardy, GED coordinator; Amanda Pruden, high school completion coordinator; and Suzanne Pelletier, adult diploma coordinator, as they handed out diplomas and certificates. Also honored were graduates who had been chosen by their teachers to receive the Outstanding Student Achievement Award. The students chosen for the class of 2013 were: Shawn Guy, Doug Aulis, Miranda LaMadeleine and Jennifer Martin-Laudato.
The ceremony was video taped and will be broadcast on the NEKTV channel. For more information about NEKLS visit www.neklsvt.org.
Submitted by Carrie Steele.