As only the fourth executive director in the history of the Dover Adult Learning Center, I have always recognized the foundation built by my predecessors and the importance of preserving their legacy. So, it would be hard to image a more fitting 50th anniversary celebration than to see more than 150 current and former board members, staff, volunteers and community supporters gathered on the lawn of the McConnell Center to mark the occasion.
What could be a more wonderful way to end this school year than with joyful culminating ceremonies, made even more special because we hadn’t been able together to celebrate for two years?
In 1972, Dover Adult Learning Center incorporated as a private non-profit organization. These are the origins of the current Dover Adult Learning Center of Strafford County. The names of our founders are still very much alive in our minds and their vision remains strong as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of DALC.
Never has “Back to School” meant so much to us as it has this year. After a full year, plus of entirely remote instruction, we are once again welcoming students and teachers back into the building. It was such a joy to watch the classrooms and hallways take shape for a new school year and to hear the sounds of conversation in many languages, of teachers greeting each other and of children playing.
This June, the pandemic restrictions began to lift just in time for us to hold a modified graduation. It was a welcome return to a cherished tradition. Each graduate deserves the chance to walk across the stage, receive their diploma or certificate and be celebrated. Our simple walk-through graduation had just enough pomp and circumstance for them to bask in the pride of their significant accomplishment. Although not all participated in the ceremony, we graduated 93 students in 2021!
In this installment of the DALC newsletter, we examine “What it Means to be an American” from several perspectives including that of immigrants and women. The article on the front page, written by DALC teacher Barbara Viscano, examines “Americanism” from those who were not born in this country, but came here for a better (or at least different) experience.
The phrase “Back to School” certainly has a new meaning this year. The global pandemic has changed the way we all work, learn and play. We’ve introduced new formats for classes, with online, in-person and hybrid options. We can help with technical skills and devices for learning at home. We’ve adapted our classrooms to promote safe distancing and adopted the now standard protocols of screening, frequent sanitation and mask wearing that ensure the least risk of infection.
At DALC, lives are truly transformed through education. Adults and youth get a second chance, a fresh start or a new opportunity. They become better prepared for work, college and training, and improve their skills as family members and citizens. Here, they find opportunity, self-confidence and economic wellbeing. Thank you to each and every one of you who has played a part in building this amazing learning community.
DALC Received Capacity-building Grant
DALC will receive $10,000 a year for three years and will use it to build long-term sustainability, increase capacity, and tackle organizational challenges. A new marketing effort will reach new populations, like individuals who already have a high school credential but may still be struggling in low-wage jobs. We can help them build skills, find career options, connect to resources, and continue their education. We will also reach out to employers with ways to upskill their current workforce and help develop their workforce pipeline.
Meet Bridget Barker, our new Adult Learner Services Coordinator.
Her background makes her a perfect fit for this diverse community-based adult education program, which encompasses everything from recruiting, training, and matching tutors with students, to leading the Friday ESL discussion group, to reaching out to local non-profit organizations and assessing how DALC can help with their adult education needs.
Donors: Our Silent Partners. Over the years, nearly 600 individuals and organizations have made donations to Dover Adult Learning Center. Without the support of each of you, we would not be able to help our students overcome barriers to success. Childcare, scholarships and the counselor’s emergency fund all rely on your donations to exist. Your donations are as important to our students’ success as tables and whiteboards, books and computers. You are the silent beating heart behind all we do. Thank you!
Debbie Liskow, Adult Tutorial Coordinator since 2000, retires. Her patient and compassionate service will be missed, but how can we help but delight in her chance to spend time with her grandchildren and doing her favorite activities.
As always, we celebrate our graduates, but also take a look at some behind-the-scenes achievements critical for adults seeking to move to forward on their education and career path. One example, after finishing ESL for Health Careers, a new class created this year, students have plans to start an LNA business or explore Medical Assistant training at Great Bay Community College.
Did you know that in each newsletter we publish a selection from our year-end compilation of student, staff and volunteer works? In this issue we learn about life in “a typical old residential community in Shanghai,”
Prior newsletter editions: