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Makassia: 2012 Graduation Speech
by Trudi




Makassia Sesay is from Liberia. She has been in Canada for eight years and has attended the Pearson Adult Learning Centre for the last six years while working as well. She is a hard-working, dedicated student. She has worked through all of her courses with patience and perseverance. I have had the privilege of being able to help Makassia as she worked her way through her courses and towards her goal. Her next goal is to attend BCIT and pursue being an ultrasound technician. I know that you will enjoy reading what Makassia has to say.

Here is Makassia’s graduation speech:

Good morning ladies and gentlemen.  Thank you for attending this memorable day with us today. Your presence and that of everyone else is much appreciated.

I came to Pearson in 2006 after leaving high school without graduating. It was tough in the beginning; I was down, I did not get acquainted with the system at the beginning. I even wanted to stop school.  But with the support and the help of the amazing group of teachers here, I hung on and here I am. I started at the lowest level of English and worked my way to English 12. 

I was so delighted that I had finished and was ready to graduate, but there came the bad news. 

‘’You can’t graduate because you don’t have a grade 11 math,’’ said a teacher.

 I didn’t like math at all. Frustrated and stressed about the fact that it will take me a few more years, I stopped school for a while, even thought about quitting. Again!!

Maybe I am going to spend my entire life working in a clothing store, I thought. That thought was depressing. Those amazing teachers saw me down, picked me up, squeezed me into their crazy schedules, and assisted me whenever they could. I climbed my way from math 4 to pre-calculus 11. 

And here I am today, with the other graduates, whom I wish all the best and I am sure have their own stories and struggles behind their success as well.

I am telling my story in an attempt to reach out to those students who might be going through the same ordeal as mine. I tell you it might be stressful at times and you might want to walk away from school and never come back. Keep your eyes on the goal, hang on a little bit longer, seek the assistance of your teacher and you will eventually have your graduation day. We did it, so can you. 

Pearson has great teachers and they are ready to take your hand, with their great enthusiasm, patience and positive attitude, they will get you here. They are very helpful to their students, concerned and save no effort for students. They are the ladders to this great success of ours today. We are all smart, God willing, but without a great teacher or someone to lead the way, even a smart student can get lost. We would not be standing here today if it wasn’t for the assistance and support of these fantastic teachers. Thank you.

Again we thank you all for sharing this joyful day with us.

As well as her graduation diploma, we are very proud to present Makassia with the Passport to Education. The Passport to Education is given by the Ministry of Education of British Columbia. The Passport gives money to be used for post-secondary education. Today, Makassia’s passport dollars is for $500. The Passport money must be used within five years. We know that Makassia will be using this towards her courses at BCIT next year. I know that she will be successful with all of her future endeavours. Congratulations Makassia.

Makassia also received funds from the Sherri Hoeflicker Bursary. The Sherri Hoeflicker Bursary is a bursary made by the teachers in memory of a great friend and colleague at the Pearson Adult Learning Centre. The bursary was presented to Makassia by Sherri’s mother and former Pearson ALC teacher Helen Hoeflicker. The bursary is for $300 and is paid to a post-secondary program.

The Pearson Adult Learning Centre is very proud of the graduates of 2012. We wish them all the best with their futures.



 (June 24, 2012)


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