May 26, 2017
Written By Cathy Alfandre, Vocational Counselor
Mercy Learning Center’s annual Recognition Reception – held this year on May 25 – is, for me, a deeply moving reminder of our students’ remarkable spirit of determination. Each year, we honor the women who come to the Center to learn and we recognize their significant, often life-changing achievements: improving their English language skills, communicating with their children’s teachers, becoming a U.S. citizen, using new technology, and moving forward with their education. Twenty-two women so far this year also reached the pinnacle at the Center: earning the GED® or NEDP® diploma!
As each woman walks to the front of the auditorium to be recognized, I cannot help but think about the challenges they have faced and, in so many cases, the difficult roads they have walked to reach this moment. Imagine coming to Bridgeport, CT, from war-torn Syria or a dangerous life in Honduras, learning English, taking classes for years while working and/or raising children, and earning a diploma in your new language! These women persevere, against the odds, and they improve the lives of their families and their community.
On the same day as the Recognition Reception, I had the additional privilege to attend Housatonic Community College’s Commencement, where four MLC graduates earned Associate’s Degrees and two earned college certificates! Another graduate earned an Associate’s at Gateway Community College, while another completed her Bachelor’s at the University of Bridgeport this year. These graduates embody sustained commitment to education and personal growth. As with each woman we serve throughout the year, I am inspired by their example and honored to play a part along their journeys of achievement.