The Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education (MCAE) recently presented five awards to outstanding individuals during its NETWORK 2021 conference, which brought together nearly 500 teachers, tutors, counselors, administrators, students, and advocates to strengthen the practice of adult education in Massachusetts. The NETWORK 2021 conference was made possible, in part, by sponsorship from Eastern Bank, Assabet After Dark, and the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges.
NETWORK is the signature professional development event of MCAE, the statewide organization for more than 3000 educators, adult students, individuals, organizations, and businesses that support equal educational opportunities for adults in Massachusetts. NETWORK 2021 was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Outstanding Student Award was presented to Ms. Rafaela Joseph, an ABE student at Literacy Volunteers of Greater Worcester and Quinsigamond Community College. She was recognized for her drive and determination in building her English skills and working to bring her professional training from Brazil to a career in the United States.
- The Outstanding Educator Award was presented to Ms. Leah Gregory, an ABE teacher and program administrator at East Boston Harborside Community School (EBHCS). She was recognized for leading efforts to help EBHCS students access food and other emergency services during the pandemic, and for being a leader in the program’s transition to remote learning.
- Two Ruth E. Derfler Memorial Scholarships were presented, to Ms. Hasfa Asfa and Mr. Selvin Socop Morales. Ms. Asfa completed a high school credential program at Mount Wachusett Community College and is currently enrolled at the college studying nursing. Mr. Morales earned a high school equivalency at the Intergenerational Learning Center in Chelsea and is currently enrolled at Bunker Hill Community college, studying hospitality with future plans to become a flight attendant. Both students are also continuing their classes in English for Speakers of Other Languages. They were recognized for their academic achievements and for their leadership within their respective programs and communities.
- A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Ms. Andrea Perrault. Ms. Perrault had a long career at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education/Adult and Community Learning Services (DESE/ACLS) department, and was a founding member of MCAE. She remains actively involved in civic work in her local community and at the state level. Her lasting legacy is the visionary work she did creating partnerships between the ABE system and the workforce development system to ensure that students had a chance for a real career, not just a job. The Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded periodically by the MCAE Board of Directors and Awards Committee in recognition of a lifetime of service to the ABE community in Massachusetts.