17 grads walk long road to get diploma

LIHU’E — For 17 Kaua’i residents, this year’s group of Kaua’i Community School

for Adults (KCSA) graduates, it was a long road to the lobby of the Kaua’i War

Memorial Convention Hall on Sunday morning.

“Success comes by trying …

sometimes, again and again!” Bonnie Lake, recently-retired KCSA vice principal

congratulated the graduates that lined the stage.

Surrounded by their

children, spouses, relatives, and friends, the 17 graduates had trooped down

the aisles of the convention hall to the “Pomp and Circumstance” being

rendered by Arnold Meister.

Lake charged the graduates to always treasure

learning.

Katrina Bagano, mother of six children and one of three student

speakers, said, “What kind of parent am I going to be if I can’t back up what

I say?”

Realizing her children are growing up, Bagano told the audience it

was time to go back to school where in addition to being taught the necessary

academia leading to the coveted General Equivalency Diploma (GED), her

instructors worked with her to develop lifeskills such as writing resumes, and

being prepared for job interviews.

Tears started streaming down her cheek

as Bagano concluded by telling how the hardest thing for her to do was dropping

out of school when she was in the ninth grade.

“Friday night was

graduation,” Bagano said.

“You could see the excitement on the faces of

the graduates and the happiness reflected in the eyes of their family and

friends. And, in all those years that I attended graduations, I always wished

it was me.”

The Sunday ceremony had special meaning for student speaker

Charlene Adric who talked about the path that took her 28 years to

complete.

“Over the holidays, I made a resolution to get my diploma before

my 47th birthday, Adric said. That was my goal.”

Her husband Rodney

played an important role in her journey towards the acquisition of her diploma

and she thanked him for cooking dinners, picking up the kids from school and

other life experiences.

“It is the achievement of goals that create the

future,” Adric told the gathering.

Two days before her 47th birthday,

Adric was informed that she had passed her tests for the diploma.

Mikiala

Tecson, already emotional from the previous two speakers, said the hardest

decision she had to make in her life was to drop out of school, but with the

support and belief from family and friends, she was now able to get on with her

life. Daniel Hamada, superintendent of schools for the Kaua’i district, and the

day’s keynote speaker, acknowledged the heartfelt speeches of the student

speakers in presenting congratulations from the administration of the

Department of Education as well as the University of Hawai’i system.

“You

are eager to get on with life,” Hamada told the graduates. “You now stand at

a gateway where, on the other side, is an immense field of better jobs and the

future.

“The diploma is the key to that gate. Take what you have learned,

and use it well,” he said.

Diplomas were presented by Eugene Uegawa,

principal for KCSA, Hamada, and Lake as the hall filled with celebratory

cheers, shouts, and hoots of joy.

Maureen Gonsalves, Brad Imano, Patsy

Imano, Sue McLaughlin, Christine Meade, Roy Miyake, Sanford Oshiro, and Raymond

Young make up the instruction staff of the KCSA.

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