BIDDEFORD — For one Biddeford family, Wednesday evening’s Biddeford Adult Education graduation ceremony is a 25-year lesson in the power of perseverance and a determination to realize a better future.
Back in 1994, Tina Bruns was a student at Portland High School when she became pregnant and dropped out. She stayed home and cared for her newborn son, Nicholas, and then a year later, Bruns gave birth to a daughter, Ashleigh, who was followed two years after that by another son, Terry.
Trying to make ends meet with three young children and not ever really feeling comfortable in the classroom, Bruns gave up on earning her high school diploma and instead turned her concentration to raising her children.
“School just wasn’t for me,” Bruns said. “I was really shy and I just couldn’t make it work no matter what I did.”
Although she wanted the best for her children, as they grew up they all followed her down the same path. Nicholas Bruns has anxiety and always felt uncomfortable in a classroom setting. He never finished high school, and neither did his sister or his brother.
But then something remarkable happened.
“I started attending classes at Biddeford Adult Education in 2012 and came and went a few times before just finally deciding to just stick with it and see what would happen,” said Ashleigh Ouellette, now 24. “I earned my certified nursing assistant certification and set a goal to enlist in the U.S. Army, but to do that, I needed to obtain a high school diploma.”
To support and encourage her daughter, Tina Bruns also returned to classes at Biddeford Adult Education and earned her CNA certification at the same time as her daughter. Both of her sons, Terry Nowlin, now 22, and Nicholas Bruns, now 25, also attended classes at Biddeford Adult Education and it has transformed their lives.
“The people at Biddeford Adult Education are amazing,” said Tina Bruns. “They really are like family to us.”
Nowlin found a renewed interest in school at Biddeford Adult Education.
“I went to a lot of schools and none of them fit me,” he said. “But now I want to go on to college and study video game design. I’d like to go to college in Florida.”
Nicholas Bruns has been attending classes at Biddeford Adult Education since 2016 and said his favorite class was a history course.
“That was fun, but the best part of going back to school was actually doing that with my family,” he said. “The people at Biddeford Adult Education truly are special. They went above and beyond to help us and all I can say is that school is amazing.”
And as the names of graduates were called Wednesday evening at Biddeford High School, all four members of the Bruns family realized their decades-long dream to become high school graduates, thus ending a long journey once considered to be out of the realm of possibility for any of them.
In speaking to all of the graduates who earned diplomas on Wednesday night, Biddeford Adult Education Director Paulette Bonneau said she was proud of their achievements, both personally and academically.
“What this speaks to me is that it takes courage,” Bonneau said. “You made a choice, took a chance and made a change.”
She said that change began when the graduates stepped out of their comfort zone and became active learners.
“I never thought I’d make it or see this day,” Tina Bruns said. “We all got through this together and we’ve truly got something to celebrate. It shows you can do anything you set your mind to do. And if I can do it so long after leaving school, anyone can.”
Her daughter said the lesson that others can learn from their family is really very simple.
“Just never give up,” Ouellette said.
Ed Pierce – 282-1535
Category: Adult Education
Date Posted: 9/4/2018
Location: Biddeford Adult Education
Date of Availability: ASAP
Date Closing: Until Filled
Position Purpose This position is responsible to instruct students learning English as a second language. Position is 28 hours per week.
Additional Duties Performs other related tasks as assigned by the Director.
Note: The above description is illustrative of tasks and responsibilities. It is not meant to be all inclusive of every task or responsibility.
Education Education or suitable major
Biddeford School Department uses the applicant tracking system from Frontline Education to manage employment applications online.
Posted by Anne Beaulieu on September 6, 2018 | Read more in: News
Click HERE to read article.
Posted by Anne Beaulieu on May 15, 2018 | Read more in: News
Ahmed grew up in Iraq. When the war began, his father, who could speak and read English, was recruited to work with the US military. Later, he was hired by Associated Press and given access to highly sensitive locations and people. Because of this, Ahmed’s father became a target and was killed. Ahmed, his mother, and two siblings were on their own in a very hostile place. Despite being very young, Ahmed became the “head” of the family, and they soon fled to safety in Jordan.
After living in a single room in Jordan for a year, the family’s request to immigrate to the US was denied. Discouraged, Ahmed and his family returned to Iraq where they were bullied for their desire to get away. Having only .50 meant to buy his lunch, Ahmed decided to visit an internet café and contact the US government for one last desperate try. It worked!
Since entering the US, Ahmed has been working to improve his English skills and earn an American high school diploma. He will graduate from Biddeford Adult Education in June and has been accepted into Maine Maritime Academy for the Fall of 2018. The folks at Biddeford Adult Education will be cheering him on every step of the way!!
Posted by Anne Beaulieu on April 13, 2018 | Read more in: News
Thank you to the Biddeford Fire and Rescue Department for taking time out of their day to explain 911 to our foreign students. Deputy Chief Kevin Duross explained how 911 works and what it is used for. He further explained what would happen when fire/rescue would show up at your house. This was extremely helpful for our foreign students to know what would happen in case of an emergency. Chaplain Kevin Jacques was also there to let people know that he might be show up when the department is called, to help with support for those not needing medical attention. Steve Szostek, Firefighter/Paramedic and Derek Hayes, Firefighter/Paramedic were on hand with the ambulance to show the students different equipment they might have to use. They also showed the students the inside of the ambulance and equipment that they might use in there as well.
To see what the Staff wrote about Sr. Theresa to nominate her - please click HERE.
Sr. Theresa along with Biddeford Adult Ed Staff
Sr. Theresa with her Brother and Sister-in-Law
Posted by Anne Beaulieu on August 4, 2016 | Read more in: News
Posted by Anne Beaulieu on July 28, 2016 | Read more in: News
C.N.A. Graduation. What an exciting time this is. Biddeford Adult Ed had 5 students graduate our C.N.A. program this week. Special coo-dos goes to Susan St. Michel for scoring a 100 on her State Exam.
"Outstanding job by Susan St. Michel. The first 100 I've seen in a while." Robert Carr, Workforce Development Program Manager, Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services.
Paulette Bonneau, Director of BAE; Stacey Taylor, Graduate; Deb Berube, Graduate; Susan St. Michel, Graduate; Kaitlyn Higgins, Graduate; Sue De Cesare, Community Adult Education Leader; and Patti Feda, C.N.A. Instructor. Missing is Linda Bamani.
Posted by Anne Beaulieu on February 12, 2016 | Read more in: News
Congratulations to our Family Literacy Program that hosted 23 participants for it's October Monthly Story Hour on Wednesday, October 21st. If you are interested, our next one will be Wednesday, November 18th from 6:00pm-7:30pm at our Learning Center. Need more information? Contact Julie at 282-6511 or email@example.com.