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Young women find success at Parent Child Center

MIDDLEBURY The Addison County Parent Child Center celebrated its tenth graduating class June 12 with a ceremony and dinner honoring the accomplishments of five young women. The graduating class of 2008 included Kayla Bessette and Danielle Charlebois of Vergennes Union High School, and Ardenia Atkins from Mt. Abraham Union High School. Middlebury Union High School was represented by Tara Mitchell and Casey Taylor. Seniors displayed projects demonstrating a wide array of interests and an impressive depth of investigation. Bessettes project was biology with the human eye as her focus. Atkins developed a power point presentation on the Holocaust. Charlebois studied human biology, focusing on the brain. Taylor created an adult diploma project and Tara Mitchell chose English as her field, exploring several authors with her own written responses to their work. On display were personal pieces of art, such as handmade quilts, all created by the graduates. The women have successfully completed the credits required by Vermont, and their respective high schools, to earn a high school diploma. Several of the women accomplished their goals while raising a family and learning important parenting and life skills. The Parent Child Center provides student participants with a real life and organic connection to school studies. In addition to traditional subjects and books, PCC strives to embed education in experience. Every aspect of high school studies is enhanced through this experiential approach. Students who have not found success in school following traditional methods can flourish at the PCC with individual schedules and support. Prior to the graduation ceremony last week, Charlebois was asked to reflect on being a high school student who had followed a longer path than her peers to achieve a personal milestone. Danielle, age 24, and a parent of two sons, has worked to accomplish her goal of graduating from high school in 2008. Her thoughful insights highlight both the effectiveness of PCCs approach to education and the tenacity of this goal-oriented graduate. When asked what helped her accomplish this long-desired goal, Danielle credited the support and encouragement she received at the center and the different ways provided to learn and earn credits. The PCC offered her many opportunities to obtain a diploma even though she had dropped out earlier. I probably wouldnt have graduated if it hadnt been for the Parent Child Center; I am now thinking about college courses and getting a job, she said.

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