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Outstanding Student Award
Jessica Faford, Webster Adult Basic Education Program

From left: Jessica Faford and Terri Stone

Jessica Faford registered with the Webster Adult Basic Education program for GED preparation classes in September 2007. She was able to attend 90% of her classes while also maintaining a full-time job and, as a single parent, raising a 6 year old child. Jessica was selected by an interview process to be a Student Leadership member of Webster’s Participatory Health Team. Other students presently look to her as a living example and inspiration to their hopes and aspirations.

Jessica now volunteers her time to our program as a teacher’s aide and peer tutor, assisting students with managing their responsibilities, including their daily work performance. Her next steps include applying to Quinsigamond Community College’s Future Focus and volunteering her services to this year’s Student Leadership Health Team, bringing to fruition the persistence and never give up attitude she displays.

Outstanding Volunteer Award
Jim Bartlett, Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts' (LVM) Literacy Unlimited program in Framingham

From left: Roberta Soolman, Jim Bartlett, and Connie Nelson

Jim Bartlett is known as "muderris" ("teacher" in Arabic) to over 20 Egyptian immigrants whom he has tutored one-on-one in English and citizenship over the past 11 years at Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts' (LVM) Literacy Unlimited program in Framingham. After working with his first two Egyptians, the word spread, and soon more Egyptian newcomers asked for his help. He is well-known and well-loved in the Coptic community centered in Natick, MA.

As a special honor, he was even introduced to the Coptic Christian Pope when the Pope visited the United States a few years ago. Many of his students and former students own or work in pizza and sub shops in the area, and, needless to say, he could get a free meal at any of them. However, Jim does what he does for his own satisfaction and asks for nothing in return. In fact, he has often said, "This is what keeps me going." Jim is a modest man who has never looked for recognition. He deserves to be thanked publicly for all the good he has done for so many for the past few years.

Outstanding Volunteer Award
Sandra Goverman, Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts' (LVM) Stoughton Public Library Program

Sandra Goverman accepting Outstanding Volunteer Award

Sandra Goverman has been involved with LVM's Stoughton Public Library program since 2005. As a resident of Sharon, she recognized a need for an ESOL program in her town. Determined to make a difference, she attended the tutor training and, without much funding support, started the Sharon program under the Stoughton umbrella.

On her own initiative, she began working with the Sharon Council on Aging. She set up a conversation class for a group of Chinese seniors seeking to learn English. Three years later, she is still teaching English every Tuesday, coordinating rides, preparing materials, planning events and overseeing the entire program. One of her students, an 84-year old woman, just received her citizenship. The many hours Sandra volunteers every week include: coming to meetings and events in Stoughton, attending workshops to educate herself in the ABE field, and growing the Sharon program.

Sandra has gone above and beyond the call of duty as a volunteer tutor. She has enriched the lives of so many students who adore and admire her. She's a true leader who takes initiative and doesn't back down. She is a cheerful, inspiring, and constant presence in the students' lives.

Outstanding Teacher Award
Patricia Lynn Drake, Community Learning Center

Patricia Lynn Drake has taught Citizenship and ESOL classes at the Community Learning Center in Cambridge for a number of years. She has also taught a Saturday morning conversation class on a volunteer basis.

Besides working for the Director of her program on grant proposal writing, Patricia recently became site coordinator for a new Distance Learning project. She also helps with assessment. Patricia is multi-talented and versatile. She is dedicated to her students’ success and always goes beyond what is required: taking students to their naturalization interviews, tutoring them after class hours and when the students on the Distance Learning program expressed a strong desire for conversation classes, she organized to meet with them every week for an extra 2 hour class.

Outstanding Counselor Award
Janet Hedlund, Adult Community Learning Center at Quinsigamond Community College

Janet Hedlund has an M.A. in Reading and worked as a Reading Specialist in the K-12 system, primarily in middle and high-school. Prior to her retirement, she was the Director of the Learning Center at Algonquin Regional High-School in Northborough.  After her retirement she did consulting work on reading and study skills.

She started working as the Program Counselor at the Adult Community Learning Center at Quinsigamond Community College in 2002. During that time, Janet was a BEST+ trainer, and did counseling trainings, as well as various presentations on adult learner persistence. She has been a compassionate and caring counselor who treated our students with graciousness and respect, always going the extra mile to help them. She often drove them places they needed to go; she paid for their lunch; she made calls to make sure they were right on track. She is a patient listener who encourages students to keep going, and keeps in touch with them while they are out of the program, and helps them come back.

Janet says that the best moments for her were the graduation ceremonies when she would look at her program’s GED graduates walk down the aisle in their caps and gowns smiling and feeling proud of their accomplishment. Janet has been a gentle, kind, thoughtful and supportive friend to her students. This year, she left Quinsigamond to really retire. However, she continues to volunteer some of her time to help the program and the students.

Outstanding Administrator Award
Kermit Dunkelberg, Ludlow Adult Learning Center

From left: Kenny Tamarkin, Kermit Dunkelberg, Connie Nelson, Linda Braun

Kermit Dunkelberg is a model administrator. He is competent and amazingly adept at accomplishing superhuman quantities of work at Ludlow Adult Learning Center in advocating and also teaching in adult education.  He is generous in assisting others in their administrative challenges, while maintaining an overview and vision of all things adult ed. He has excellent relationships with his staff and student population in his program, where he serves as administrator, mentor and teacher, listener and learner. He integrally connects community to the work that he does in pursuit of life long learning for learners and staff. In addition, he has spearheaded the "Smooth Transitions" working group, which focuses on closing gaps between adult ed and college readiness through a collaboration between Holyoke Community College faculty and staff and ABE administrator, faculty and staff.

Kermit has been a key collaborator with the ABE Transition to College and Careers program, as well as a tireless strategic planner and innovator for bringing ABE students to college and for bringing a college transition sensibility to ABE and college educators. Further, he has worked effectively and collaboratively with the workforce development community on behalf of ABE students.

Kermit Dunkelberg has been doing an outstanding job for the community. He is committed to making a difference in people’s lives. Not only has he shown selfless dedication, but he has also been a role model to both staff and students. His engagement goes beyond the call of duty. Practical, his abridged version of the ABE Curriculum Frameworks made it a tool that most educators in the area cannot live without.

He is an educational/career counselor, an amazing grant writer, an awesome leader, a great supervisor and a caring friend. His expertise can only be matched by his humbleness and generosity. He is the bridge between College, Career Centers, Congress, Public Schools, Early Childhood Education, ABE centers, DESE , and the Ludlow community. Kermit has been truly an inspiration in the world of ABE.

Special Recognition Award
Diane McMullen, Bristol Community College

Diane McMullen is being posthumously awarded the MCAE Special Recognition Award. Adult education was a perfect career choice for Diane McMullen. As a consummate lifelong learner, Diane had a profound understanding of and appreciation for the power of language, and the innate need in all of us for change, growth and self-expression. In her undergraduate days as an English major at Stonehill College, Diane inevitably registered for the most difficult courses with the most demanding professors and relished the challenge of analyzing poetry and literature, while many of her fellow students often groaned with disbelief and a bit of intellectual envy. Herself a gifted writer and poet, Diane edited the college literary magazine and so began an avocation of support for the creativity of others, an avocation which led to her vocation as an adult basic education practitioner: teacher, professional development specialist, and finally, Dean of Literacy Services at Bristol Community College.

In her understated way, Diane recognized the extraordinary in what others might consider ordinary. Behind that little girl's voice lay a keen intellect. Diane could so often be relied upon to see a problem or issue in a different and unconventional way because she was truly a “systems thinker” who recognized organizational and human connections too easily missed by others. She was always more intrigued by important questions than easy answers. The innovative programs and strong community partnerships she developed for Bristol Community College are testaments to her skill and professional commitment. As an educational leader, Diane was passionate about addressing the needs of adult learners. She provided leadership at both the local level and at the state level through her work as a member of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education. Diane's untimely death is an enormous loss for all who had the privilege of knowing her. Her twinkling eyes and dimpled smile will be sorely missed, yet the ways in which she enriched so many lives with her legacy of compassion, integrity, and excellence will remain with us always.

An adult educator who worked for Diane wrote: Diane was a crusader for the adult learner. Through her selfless dedication and commitment to life-long learning, she created a home for ABE at Bristol Community College (BCC). Her passion for adult learner success ignited a fire under her non-ABE BCC colleagues, who embraced her to represent the folks that had little or no representation. Diane was a visionary. She designed the Attleboro Advantage program on the concept that adult learners at Bristol Community College were entitled to flexibility and options in a supported environment. She created a 20 hour intensive instruction program with built in next steps. While students are working on their GED, they can work on internships, job readiness, and transitions to college. Students can enroll in college level classes while they are working on their GED. She would always say, “Why should we help them pass the GED only to let them go into the world without any experience with their next steps?” Diane believed that every adult learner had gifts and it was her mission to help them discover their gifts.

Special Recognition Award
Tom Mechem, Massachusetts State GED Chief Examiner

From left: Ruth Derfler and Tom Mechem

Since Tom Mechem arrived at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as the State GED Chief Examiner he has not only taken on the main duties of the job, but also has gone above and beyond in providing a very necessary and important link between the GED test centers and all the available preparation programs. He is a consummate teacher who is willing and able to go anywhere for anyone to teach what he believes are the ways to get all our students to pass their GED and be successful in postsecondary education.

Tom loves to work with teachers, counselors, and GED Examiners. He shares his knowledge, tinged with his brand of humor, so they too can help and work with our most needy students as they try to move on in their lives. As most of us who have worked with him can attest, Tom never says no when a teacher, counselor, program director, or GED Chief Examiner calls him to come and present. He has "Power Points - will travel" as he travels statewide. He is a dedicated advocate for our students with a disability who want and need to have someone in their corner, so that the field can be leveled for them in taking their GED. Tom Mechem is an outstanding State GED Chief Examiner!

GED High Scorer Award
Yun Li, Shrewsbury

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