A western Massachusetts adult learner was honored on Thursday May 17th at the State House by the Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education (MCAE). The awards ceremony was part of the MCAE’s Adult Basic Education (ABE) Showcase that featured more than 20 ABE programs from across the state. The event honored Milton Rivera of Three Rivers as one of MCAE’s Outstanding Student of the Year.
“Milton is one of this year’s recipients of the Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education’s Outstanding Student Award,” announced Laurie Sheridan, Board President of the MCAE that recognizes outstanding student leadership each year. “I am honored to recognize Milton for his hard work and determination. He is making a great effort to achieve his educational goals and has overcome many obstacles to make his dream of earning a college degree a reality.”
Milton Rivera travels five hours a day by bus to attend Holyoke Community College (HCC) Milton’s journey to college began when he was in a halfway house of Hampden County Jail and met Elia Dreyfuss, Coordinator of the ABE-Transition to College and Careers (ABE-TCC) Program run by Community Education Project and HCC. Milton’s background was similar to many of the inmates at the Ludlow corrections facility: low literacy, poor family background, low self-esteem and years of substance abuse. Milton entered the ABE-TCC program with marginal academic skills and no previous expectation of college success. As a member of the ABE-TCC class, Milton was known for his hard work, excellent attendance and his unwavering support of his classmates.
“Milton serves as an example of someone who has completely transformed his life through hard work, persistence, volunteerism and taking advantage of every resource available to him. He is an exemplary student and human being,” Elia Dreyfuss of ABE-TCC.
Today as a Spring 2012 graduate of HCC majoring in Human Services, Milton is an ABE-TCC mentor. He frequently speaks to prospective college students and pre- and post-release inmates about his experience; encouraging them to pursue post-secondary education. While at HCC, Milton has maintained a 3.8 GPA; he is the President of the Honor Society and the Human Services Club; he is spearheading the drive for a food bank on campus. Milton will be attending Westfield State College in Fall 2012.
“The ABE Transition to College and Careers program has been a model partnership between HCC and CEP since 2002. A free comprehensive college prep program, the ABE-TCC program serves as a bridge between ABE/ESOL and higher education: preparing adult learners for the academic rigors of college and providing career counseling and exposure to career paths to jobs that provide family sustainable wages.” said Robin Hodgkinson, Director of the Community Education Project.