Adult Ed Graduates Class of 2019

June 14, 2019

A native of Jamaica, Antonise Haye worked two jobs to help support her family while earning her certification as a nursing assistant. That success inspired her to study further to become a licensed practical nurse or registered nurse.

There was just one problem: First, she would need to earn a high school equivalency diploma. That is where Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES’ Adult Education program entered the picture.
“My journey was not easy,” Haye told 65 of her peers at the Adult Education Graduation on June 12 as her husband looked on with pride. “I had to make a lot of sacrifices and changes in order to attend.”

Sacrifice and perseverance are things Haye’s fellow graduates know a great deal about. Aisha Ikram, for example, completed the program in two months and passed the test just before giving birth to her second child. Isaias Velesaca, a graduate speaker and Ecuadorian immigrant who came to America looking for a better life, failed his math test twice before passing and receiving his diploma.

“I always wanted to finish my studies but it was difficult because first I had to focus on working,” Velesaca told the crowd. “One day, I found out through a friend that BOCES offered Spanish classes in the evening. Here I am today and it has been one of the best decisions that I have made.”

Velesaca started working with BOCES as an English language learner and kept working until he received his high school equivalency diploma.

Addressing the crowd in both English and Spanish, District Superintendent Dr. James Ryan praised and congratulated the graduates and their families, recognizing the hard work and dedication it took for each and every student to succeed despite many obstacles.

For many of the graduates, the ceremony is just the beginning as they plan to continue their educations and pursue new careers. 

“Never give up on your dreams and goals,” Velesaca told his peers.