Adults Graduate High School: "Never Give Up"

It was a long, hard path for dozens of Hamden Adult Education students who received their high school diplomas Thursday. The students were from Amity, North Haven and Hamden.


It seems "like yesterday" that Rick LeHerissier decided to quit high school.

"I was young with a full head of hair and a half a head of brains," he said Thursday night. "That was 41 years ago, and now I have a half a head of hair and a full head of brains."

He also has his high school diploma. LeHerissier was one of 65 men and women from Hamden, Amity and North Haven who graduated Thursday night at the Hamden Adult High School commencement exercises at Hamden High School.

"I thank my family for supporting me and giving me the faith I didn't have," he said. "I especially thank my wife Carol who, though she was a pain in the neck, pushed me to do this.

"I feel that she deserves this more than I do," said a visibly emotional LeHerissier.

Mauricia Anne Lopez said she remembers the day her classmates at North Haven High School graduated without her.

"I didn't have on the maroon robe like the other North Haven graduates," she said. "I realized I needed to go on with my education, but passing through those doors I was hesitant to believe I would be successful, but here I am today."

Hamden Adult Eduction "gave me the opportunity to further my education," said Lopez, who graduated Thursday along with her sister, Carla Marie Lopez. "It gave me the opportunity that my school couldn't provide."

When it became clear that she couldn't get a good job without a good education, Ayesha Thorne knew what she had to do.

"Having doors shut in your face is not a good feeling," the newly-minted high school graduate said. "I was truly tired of being tired so I decided to go back to school."

"I felt very embarrassed when I started," said Ronnie Hazzard, "but there's no reason to be embarrassed -- it's never too late, never give up."

Both Mayor Scott Jackson and Supt. of Schools Fran Rabinowitz said that the Adult Education graduation was the best night of the year.

"It takes a lot to come back and to work hard," Jackson told the graduates. "You have to learn something every single day -- it's a fast world and you have to keep up, and you are keeping up with it."

"I can tell you that your work and your ability to finish this project and get your high school degree against many odds is so very inspiring," Rabinowitz told the students. "Enjoy tonight, bask in your accomplishment, you deserve to enjoy every minute of it."


The following students received their high school diploma Thursday:

  • Stacey Nicole Abate
  • Michael D. Andrews
  • Alyssa Amber Asbury
  • Lauren Ashley Beauton
  • Christine Benedict
  • Mustapha Bensrhir
  • Nashena D. Bittle
  • Jocelyn Berg
  • Desmond C. Burns
  • Jillianna Rose Caputo 
  • Michael Chichester
  • Vincent Cianfaglione
  • Ta-Teisha Re-nee Clark
  • Julian T. Cofransesco
  • Malayna Cooper
  • Herbert S. Cruz
  • Omayra L. Cruz-Gonzalez
  • Tiffany Marie Darling
  • Giancarlos Del Hoyo
  • Joseph L. DiCicco
  • Ryland Marvelas Dickerson
  • Samantha Sadie Gonzalez
  • Brian Hackett
  • David Harris
  • Ronnie D. Hazzard
  • Damion Orlando Henry
  • Khudija Hill
  • Corina A. Jagrosse
  • Brandon Scott Jennings
  • Christina D. King
  • Jenna Davida Kroop
  • Richard T. LeHerissier
  • Carla Marie Lopez
  • Mauricia Anne Augustine Lopez
  • Zaire R. Luciano
  • Chantha Ly
  • Loren Eve Malka
  • Ahmet Maras
  • Lauren Alexandra Marchetti
  • Stephanie Martinez
  • Bret A. McCoy
  • Aleksandar Mikac
  • Bernice Davis Mills
  • Ayesha Valeska Mitchell
  • Christhian A. Montes
  • Tajerah C. Moore
  • Kaitlin E. Mulvey
  • Jose Murphy
  • Dylan J. Natale
  • Gloria I. Newell-Lewis
  • Susan Jacqueline Pantoja
  • Virgil L. Rhodes Jr.
  • Joseph D. Riccio
  • Rashawn Samms
  • Luis Rene Saquicela
  • Justin Daniel Sardi
  • Gritt Sciessere
  • Shelva Brandia Taylor
  • Valentine George Taylor
  • Ayesha V. Thorne
  • Shawn M. Tobin
  • Karl David Traub Jr.
  • Nicholas P. Velardi
  • Simona Williams
  • Annunziata Zaccariello Tobin


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