[NYLINE] Queens Library Fetes Its 140 High School Graduates

 New York’s Libraries Information Network [NYLINE@LISTSERV.NYSED.GOV]; on behalf of; King, Joanne [Joanne.King@QUEENSLIBRARY.ORG]

They Prepped for Diplomas atQueens Library; Now They Are Rocking Their Mortarboards!

MAICA, NY, May 5, 2015-NYC Council Member I. Daneek Miller; other government and community leaders; Queens Library’s Interim President and CEO Bridget Quinn-Carey and proud family and guests celebrated the graduations of 140 adults who prepared for, and successfully earned, their high school equivalency diplomas using the free resources of Queens Library’s Adult Learner Program. The graduates participated in a processional to “Pomp and Circumstance” dressed in academic regalia. Keynote speakers included the chair of Queens Library’s Board of Trustees, Carl Seldin Koerner, and Bishop Mitchell Taylor of Urban Upbound.

Queens Library turned out nearly three times as many high school graduates as in the previous year. Queens Library’s Adult Learner Program helped these adults succeed by giving them the free educational resources, special tutoring, peer support and the computer skills that they needed to take this courageous step and achieve. Many were English Language learners in addition to acquiring the subject skills they needed to pass the test. Some are already enrolled in the next phases of their educations.

Five students spoke on behalf of their classmates and spoke about their journeys and their challenges.  Kareem Ahmad, for example, spent his whole adult life lying about not having his high school diploma, until now. Christopher McKenzie grew up economically disadvantaged, got in with the wrong crowd and dropped out of school. After the tragic loss of his father, he found his way to the library, and has now gotten his life back on track with a diploma to prove it. Chenyan Yao was born in China and originally came to the library to improve her English skills, while also working six days a week and caring for a baby. Using the resources at Queens Library’s Adult Learner Program, she earned her high school diploma. Now she is on her way to college and nursing school. Maureen Greco tearfully told the crowd that she needed to get her diploma so she could make a good life for herself and her 7-year old son. Nagat Almatare spoke about her struggle against a culture that discouraged!

education. Now she has a high school diploma, a job and is enrolled in community college. There are 140 graduates and 140 inspirational stories.

In addressing the graduates, Interim President and CEO Bridget Quinn-Carey said: “I hope this is one step on a long road of moving forward. I promise that wherever you choose to go next, Queens Library will be here to help you.”

Queens Library offers English for Speakers of Other Languages, Adult Basic Education, pre-high school equivalency preparation, the high school equivalency exam online and a full spectrum of free programs to help learners enrich their lives at all stages of their learning careers.