Fatuma Hussein, executive director of the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine, speaks at Lewiston Adult Education on Tues., June 13.

 

Lewiston Adult Education students who persevered to get their high school certification made it through summer heat in the Lewiston High School gymnasium to hear cheers and applause Tuesday night.

The group of 30 students received their high school equivalency by successfully taking the HiSET exam though Lewiston Adult Education. The HiSET has replaced the GED in Maine and the students received lessons and academic support to prepare.

Fatuma Hussein, executive director of the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine, was the guest speaker.  She told of her journey to the United States and talked about how to tackle future challenges, which included the importance of being courageous, never losing hope and giving back.

“Together we can build a better tomorrow,” she said.

Christelle Kasongo was the student speaker. The native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo told about some of her lessons in learning American English, especially when it came to accents.

Kasongo is fluent in six languages, including French, English, Swahili, Lingala, Tshiluba and Kikongo. Lingala, Tshiluba and Kikongo are spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo while Swahili is used in eastern and southern African countries.

She took time in her speech to praise Adult Learning Center Coordinator Laurieanne Champagne and instructor Don Roux for their help.

“It’s women and men like Laurie and Don in adult education who show why being a teacher is such a noble job,” Kasongo said.

Lewiston Superintendent Bill Webster spoke at the end of graduation and was the first to recognize the assembled students as graduates.