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Celebration of success

Nov 16, 2018 : Articles

On November 8th, we welcomed nearly 250 guests to our Celebration of Success at The Westin Convention Center Hotel. This event acknowledged those students who earned a high school equivalency diploma within the past year with a traditional graduation ceremony.

This year's celebration also highlighted our new partnership with Goodwill of Western Pennsylvania, whose adult literacy program is now a subgrantee of Literacy Pittsburgh. Grads from our new Beaver County location were invited to participate as well. While not all graduates could attend due to jobs, school or family obligations, we proudly recognized a total of 95 individuals for their accomplishment!

All grads were invited to write a "yearbook message" to thank those who helped them and share their plans for the future. We are pleased to feature their inspiring words here.

2018 Celebration of Successs
Graduate Messages

*Indicates that a student passed with honors in one or more subjects.

Silvia F. Bessonart Agosto
Teacher/Tutor: Lindi Kendal and Doug Christ
Earned diploma in: October 2017
Silvia is currently working as a housekeeper and managing her rental property. Her goal is to be happy.
“I would like to thank all of those who believed in me and encouraged me to keep going forward, even without saying anything.”

Izabela Bartosiewicz*
Teacher/Tutor: Helena Groom
Earned diploma in: July 2018
Izabela is on her way toward pursuing a massage therapy certificate. Her goal is to have a successful holistic massage practice and to set a good example for her daughter, Emiya.
“I would like to thank Literacy Pittsburgh, especial Lauren Stahl, Andrea Horton and Helena who didn’t let me give up, even for a minute!! Thank you!”

Joann Burkhart*
Teacher/Tutor: Kathy Scanlon
Earned diploma in: August 2018
Joann is currently managing a warehouse in Fox Chapel. Her goal is to find a career that will be rewarding to herself as well as others, possibly a teacher’s aide for those with special needs.
“Special thanks to Miss Gail, who always greeted me with kindness and always prayed with me. She was so encouraging. I would also like to thank my teacher Kathy Scanlon who taught me more in a few months than I had learned all through high school. I admire her patience.”

Ronald Raymond Butler*
Teacher/Tutor: Lauren Stahl
Earned diploma in: November 2018
Ronald is currently a contracted visual artist with 1Hood Media. He is beginning the application process for college. His goal is to pursue a degree in neuroscience as well as continue to grow his career in art.
“I would like to thank everyone who helped me along the way, especially my mother, my two sisters Aminah and Archeya and my best friends Cedric and Alexis.”

Hallie Butera
Teacher/Tutor: Susan Mansuetti
Earned diploma in: June 2018
Hallie is currently attending Community College of Beaver County and working part time.
“I would like to thank everyone who supported me and helped me accomplish my goal of getting my GED.”

Erin Connell*
Teacher/Tutor: Ms. Laurie
Earned diploma in: August 2018
Erin is working at a Goodwill outlet currently. Her future goals are to get her driver’s license and to help her beautiful twin boys become young men.
“I would like to thank Mr. Leigh for being so friendly at orientation and making me feel like I can do this! I would like to thank Ms. Laurie for evaluating me properly, recognizing my learning styles and deciding the HiSET was best for me. I couldn’t have done this without her help and dedication for teaching.”

Faith Cook*
Teacher/Tutor: Caris Doss
Earned diploma in: April 2018
Faith is currently a certified nursing assistant and is planning on furthering her training in the near future. She would like to either continue in nursing or go to school to become an ultrasound tech.
“Caris was a wonderful, encouraging teacher and I can’t thank her enough.

Nicolette David*
Teacher/Tutor: Susan Mansuetti
Earned diploma in: October 2018
Nicolette is working on figuring out her next steps to enroll in college. She looks forward to continuing her schooling so that she can get a degree towards a promising career.
“I would like to thank certain members of my family for always believing in me, they know who they are. I would like to thank Susan for being such an awesome teacher and helping me get back on track. And I would also like to thank Brianne, this amazing math wizard I happen to know...If it wasn’t for her it would’ve taken me a lot longer and been a lot harder to catch up with my math studies. Thank you so much to all that have been there along this journey.”

Elaine Dean
Teacher/Tutor: Caris Doss
Earned diploma in: March 2018
Elaine is looking forward to earning a business degree and owning her own business someday.
“I would like to thank Caris for being a wonderful teacher to me. I thank my mom for taking me to and from classes and the test as well as for watching my daughter. I also thank Beaver County Job Training for helping me financially.”

Victoria J. Dvorak
Teacher/Tutor: Mr. C. Jackson Butch
Earned diploma in: September 2018
Victoria will be starting nursing school in January. She looks forward to starting her nursing career.
“I would like to thank my boyfriend and his mother, Amy, Mr. Jackson and Mrs. Sharon.”

Jesse Kanschat
Teacher/Tutor: Susan Mansuetti
Earned diploma in: October 2018
Jesse is currently working two jobs and hopes to continue his education to become a mechanic and open his own garage. His goal is to live a happy life, putting God first, family second, knowing everything else will work out.
“I would like to thank God, Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Literacy Pittsburgh, Susan Mansuetti and all the teachers as well as my family and friends who love and support me.”

Leah McNulty
Teacher/Tutor: Vicki Underwood
Earned diploma in: October 2018
Leah is currently working and being a mom. She is undecided about her future plans but says “The sky’s the limit!”
“I would like to thank God, my teacher Vicki Underwood, my mom, dad and all of my family, especially my daughter Kyla McNulty who has pushed me to fulfill my dream.”

Joseph Mutterspaugh*
Teacher/Tutor: Caris Doss
Earned diploma in: May 2018
Joey is currently in nursing school at Community College of Beaver County. His goal is to become an RN and work in a hospital ER or trauma unit.
“I would like to thank my parents and my friends for helping me get through the tests.”

Jaquinn Owens
Teacher/Tutor: Luke and Ms. Linda
Earned diploma in: October 2018
Jaquinn is looking for a job in health care. Her future goal is to one day own her own company.
“I would like to thank God, my family, my teacher Luke and my tutor Ms. Linda for helping me to get my GED.”

Hayden Patton*
Teacher/Tutor: Barbara Hopkins
Earned diploma in: April 2017
Hayden is currently attending classes at Community College of Beaver County for welding and hopes to join the welder’s union in the future.
“I would like to thank my mother, Jennifer Patton, for supporting me.”

Karmel Radan
Teacher/Tutor: Kathy Scanlon
Earned diploma in: July 2018
Karmel’s goal is to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. She is currently studying for the placement tests to start her education at Community College of Allegheny County.
“I would like to thank Kathy Scanlon for her patience and encouragement, Gail Whitehead for her warmth and support, and Andrea Horton-Mericli for her help and confidence in me. Also, everyone at Literacy Pittsburgh for their warm welcome.”

Randi Romine
Teacher/Tutor: Sister Thaddea Meyers
Earned diploma in: August 2018
Randi’s goal is to become an anesthesia tech and is in the process of enrolling at Community College of Allegheny County for the spring semester.
“I’d like to thank Literacy Pittsburgh for all of their help and support. I’d also like to thank my family for always having my back, believing in me and supporting me through this process.”

Jade Smith
Teacher/Tutor: Caris Doss
Earned diploma in: November 2017
Jade is currently working full time. Her future goals are to attend nursing school for my RN and work as a pediatric nurse.
“The people I would like to thank are my mom, my sister, and my aunt Tammie for keeping me going and always having my back.”

Khristian Tomko*
Teacher/Tutor: Lauren Stahl
Earned diploma in: October 2018
Khristian is taking SAT prep courses to be more competitive in his university resume. His future goal is to pursue his passion of computers. He hopes to attend a four-year university and fulfill his dream of creating tools for the future.
“I would like to thank Lauren! She is an awesome teacher and genuinely enjoys her job of teaching people. I also thank my girlfriend who helps push me every day to do better.”

Gloria Torres
Teacher/Tutor: Susan Mansuetti
Earned diploma in: August 2018
Gloria is currently working at three jobs. Her goal is to start at Community College of Beaver County in the spring to obtain her CNA license and then her RN degree.
“I would like to thank my teacher Susan, my dad, my stepdad and my best friend Katrina for pushing me and supporting me through all of this and making it posssible.”

Honorine Uwase
Teacher/Tutor: Kim Mihalik
Earned diploma in: August 2018
Honorine is currently a certified nursing assistant and plans to become a registered nurse.
“I would like to thank Kim, Goodwill, my daughter and son, and my brothers and sisters who always believe in me and wish me the best.

Shane Voshall
Teacher/Tutor: Ms. Laurie
Earned diploma in: September 2018
Shane will start attending Community College of Allegheny County in January. He looks forward to earning his associate degree, and having a career and a family for which he can provide.
“I would like to thank Ms. Laurie. She helped me with everything to get my GED. Also thanks to my family for pushing me and all of the teachers and people at Goodwill who helped me! Thank you!”

Literacy Pittsburgh (formerly Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council) helps create better lives through learning. Recognized as a national leader in adult and family literacy, Literacy Pittsburgh is the largest provider of adult basic education in Allegheny and Beaver Counties. Last year, Literacy Pittsburgh helped more than 4,500 individuals acquire reading, writing, math, English language, computer and workforce skills so they may reach their fullest potential in life and participate productively in their communities. Literacy Pittsburgh provides free, personalized instruction in workforce readiness, high school diploma test preparation, English as a second language, basic skills, and family literacy through one-to-one and small class instruction, along with referrals to other family support organizations. Founded in 1982, it serves local adults through numerous neighborhood locations and its Downtown Center.