Archive for June, 2017

Passages Press – Graduation 2017 Part 2

Friday, June 30th, 2017

This year we graduated 19 Passages Students from across the state of Maine! The Passages Press provides an excerpt from each student describing their experience at Wayfinder Schools, and discussing their Passage project, a required final project of the student’s choosing. Congratulations to all of our graduates!

K. Guernsey

Katerina Guernsey

Passages has helped me get through a lot. I applied when I was pregnant after struggling and fighting with my public school to stay in. They didn’t help me or seem to care, but the Passages program greeted me with a warm smile and a piece of pie. I felt happy going into this program, though my situation kept me to myself during workshops.

At the end of my first year in Passages my teacher showed me so much compassion and helped me into a safe place in my life. After the struggles of court and loss, an old light slowly came back and this, my second and final year, I improved, made friends, and broke out of my shell. I never could have done that without Joy. At the end of this year Joy was on vacation, and returned to a bunch of texts and work from me from out of nowhere. She was surprised, but on board. We made it work and I’m graduating! I am so thankful and so happy for this program, the teachers, and friends I have due to this program. I am thankful for new experiences, ideas and the warmth that started with a piece of pie.

H. Newell

Hydee Newell
Pleasant Point

I’m finally done! Finished. I don’t know why it took me this long, but I’m pleased with the end result. With the support of my team I was encouraged the whole way. Thank you to everyone who joined my journey.

My Passage :Paint With Me

For my final Passage project I painted with my son’s second grade class after school in the gym. The whole class wasn’t able to attend, but I did get ten students and they loved it. A couple students asked when I would be back to paint again because they said they loved art. I would like to do this again in thefuture knowing that the students took great interest in my chosen project.

When I first decided to do something that involved children I was a little hesitant. Not all children are well behaved and I didn’t want to babysit rather than do what was planned, but I can say they surprised me. Each student had fun. They had some spare time before the bus arrived to take them home and they organized a game of ‘Duck, Duck, Goose’ and played well together until it was time to leave.

The turnout was fantastic. I’m very pleased with my team. Everyone that showed up to support me was very much appreciated!

K. Pendleton

Kaitland Elizabeth Pendleton

My experience in Passages has really been great. I love the teachers and how much they care. I love how they give you so many opportunities to learn new things by all the different workshops! Honestly, if it weren’t for Passages I don’t think I would have ever gotten my high school diploma. It’s great how the teachers come to your house, but if you need any extra help when they aren’t here, you can just message them and they will help as much as they can that way. All of the teachers are super supportive. They just want to see you succeed! If it weren’t for my teacher, Ann, pushing me and encouraging me to complete everything, I don’t think I would be graduating this year! So, I thank and appreciate her for that!

I promise you that once you graduate, you will have learned so much about yourself and you will do things you probably never would have pictured yourself doing before! This program really helped me to get out of my comfort zone, and do things that needed to be done!! I got my permit, shadowed at my dream school, the Empire Beauty School in Bangor, and put in my application to enroll there. I got my First Aid/CPR certificate, got to go to some really amazing workshops, set up my FAFSA, and of course now I will be getting my high school diploma. This has been an experience I will always remember, and be thankful for. Thank you Passages!

My Passage : Getting Ready for Cosmetology School

I’ve always been interested in doing hair, makeup, and nails, since I was in third grade. I’ve been dying my own hair since I was in grade school. In grade school and in high school whenever my sisters had friends over, I’d always ask them if they wanted me to do their hair and makeup. Of course they would always say yes! I really enjoy it. When I was in high school, I’d do girls’ eyebrows in the bathroom during lunch. I remember when I was in fifth grade my mom’s friend, Micki, said that that’s how she started and that she had a good feeling that I was going to be a cosmetologist too, because she saw a lot of her young self in me.

I have been exploring the Empire Beauty School in Bangor, Maine. I made an appoint- ment to tour the school. When we got there they were busy, and so they gave me a free manicure while I waited. That was cool.

After that they showed me what the school provides for supplies. In the kit was high-end makeup, hair tools, wigs, stuff that kills the germs from the hair tools, a tablet, and supplies for nails. The school has a really cool scholarship where they will give you $1,000 for your continuing education!

I spent the day shadowing at the Empire Beauty School in April. When I first got there I was told that I would be watching one of the girls on the floor and then spending time in the classroom. I watched her do someone’s hair. She gave her a trim and made her roots the same color as the hair that was dyed and then she got rid of her highlights and evened it out so it looked pretty much all the same, but with a little bit of a lighter brown towards the end. I was upset that I didn’t get to see what it looked like when it was completely done. Her hair was naturally really pretty and curly so I’m sure it came out awesome.

The classroom time was the most fun for me. They were testing, but I really loved the teacher. She made learning seem fun and she had a really awesome personality! She was singing and dancing around the classroom. It was a very chill atmosphere! For the test the students had to do one acrylic nail “perfectly.” – Well, up to the teacher’s standards! The girl I sat next to was really friendly, so it made the time there more enjoyable! I didn’t learn as much as I wanted too due to them testing, but I still had a great time. I can really picture myself going to school there!

L. Phinney

Lacee Edwina Phinney

My name is Lacee Phinney. I am 26 with 4 boys and have been settled down since I was 18. I have ADHD and from a young age had a lot of problems in school and was medicated. I was told I would never get a high school diploma. In my Canadian school I made it to grade 12, but dropped out. I wasn’t going to get a diploma anyway – just a leaving certificate, and I partied more than I should have. I gave up on myself and I went to get my GED. I scored so low that it felt like it was not possible to get my GED.

Next I lost my CNA certificate, because of not having a high school diploma. I could not work with just my CNA. I felt hopeless and like I had no chance for a real diploma or a real life, but I have had a lot of jobs and have worked at the Cobscook Community Learning Center as a cleaning lady for almost 3 years. I really love it there.

I have been in Passages for 6 years. I started in 2011. It is an awesome program that helps a lot and is flexible with my everyday life. The teachers have worked hard with me the whole time. Passages was my only hope for a high school diploma. I was working through my drug addiction which began when I was 14 and having babies later in my early 20s plus working at full-time jobs and raising 4 boys. I love them with all my heart. Isaic, James, Ashton, and Aimsley. They push me to want to better myself.

Through all the good times and the bad times my school and my family and my teachers have been there for me and fought for me the whole time. I am blessed to be a part of Passages. I believe that this program does a lot of good for teens and young families. It did for me.

J. Riethmuller

Jacqueline Louise Riethmuller

My time in Passages has been an experience that probably lasted longer than it should have. I have been in the Program since March of 2015. My teacher through it all has been Erica Gates. She has definitely done her fair share of helping me get through earning my high school diploma. It has been a huge struggle to finally get to the end.

I started when I was pregnant with my daughter Aerial. Through the first year I thought that I was going to finish when I needed to, but with life getting in the way it took me a lot longer than I had planned. I also moved three different times within the first 8 months after having Aerial. When Aerial was just 8 months old, I found out that I was pregnant again. So that made me work harder until that baby got here.

My son was born in the end of June in 2016. Having two kids was definitely a struggle while trying to find time to do school work and balance life. I tried my hardest to find that right time of the day that I could get something done for school, but then life happened again. A big event happened and the father of my kids went to jail. With that I had to really figure out how to care for two kids on my own. Times were tough and I didn’t have a lot of space to think about school work, but once I did, I was right back to getting school work done.

Then a huge tragedy happened to me and my family. My son passed away, which has been the biggest struggle that I have ever had to deal with in my life. Learning to deal with that and keep moving forward has definitely not been easy. I think that the only reason I am graduating this year is because in the last couple of months all I could think about was that I was so close and there is no turning back now. I know that everyone, including my son, would have wanted me to this. So these past couple of weeks have just been pushing to finish for everyone including myself, because once my daughter gets to the point where she doesn’t want to go to school, I will be able to tell her that it’s easier to get it done now while she has the chance than it is to have to go back to it and try to finish later.

Passages has helped through this the whole process. If it wasn’t for Passages and my teacher, Erica, I would not be graduating. I probably would have never gotten to this point in my life that I can say even after having two kids I am going to be getting my high school diploma.

The Passages Program requires a final graduation project. For mine I chose to learn more about how to become a preschool/ daycare worker. I am learning what courses I have to take to get my certifications. For my final presentation I am going to have a handbook ready to be able to show potential parents. I also have a meal plan and a list of a couple activities that I could do with the kids. I am grateful for this project because if it wasn’t for Passages I might not have been able to know the steps I have to take to have my own daycare one day.

J. Smiley

Jade Lynn Smiley
Indian Township

While in Passages I accomplished a lot of things. The most important one is graduating. I’ve been in the Passages Program for three years. I definitely had my ups and downs, but pushed through to accomplish my goals.

My Passage: A Traditional Family Meal

For my final Passage project I chose to cook one of my family’s traditional meals and serve it to my Passage team at my house. Not only is this meal one of my family’s traditional meals, it is also one of the cultural meals that we might serve at a social or a small gathering. This a meal my family would cook to celebrate a successful hunt. After the moose is brought home we hang it, skin it and then let it hang for a few more days before we butcher it.

My sister has helped me find 3 different traditional recipes. We made: Tuhmasis (fried bread), potatoes, moose meat and deer meat, plus strawberries and Cool Whip for dessert.

My sister, Tia helped me prepare the meal for my Passage team. First we started off cooking the moose meat. We had to boil it 3 times and let the water evaporate each time. After the moose meat was done boiling, we put it in a frying pan with some seasonings and cooked it with the deer meat. Next, we peeled and diced the potatoes and onions. While Tia watched the moose meat cook, I made the dough for the fried bread. Once the dough was done, I heated the oil and started to cook each fried bread. Once that was done we smashed up some fresh strawberries and added a little bit of sugar. We used the strawberries for a dessert to have with the fried bread.

We served my guests their meal while I explained the recipes. Then I invited my guests to ask questions about the meal. I thought my Passage went very well. Everyone loved the food. I’m glad my Passage was a success. If it wasn’t a success or if someone didn’t like the food I would have felt bad.

I like cooking and this is the career path I have chosen. I am currently working on my certification for ServSafe and cooking at Wabanaki Take-Out. In the future I would like open my own restaurant.

B. Turner

Barbara Turner

Hello, my name is Barbara Turner and I have been in Passages Program since 2012. I became a young mother at 15 years old. I had my first born in June of 2010. In 2011, I became a single mother and also a victim of abuse. That was when all my problems started . . . never thought I was good enough and didn’t care about my life or how I was going to live it. I started getting really bad anxiety. I dropped out of high school going into 10th grade. I did try to go back and it worked for a couple months, but I dropped out again. Then I went back and finished 11th grade and started 12th grade. That is when I found out I was pregnant with my second child at age 17. I knew that I couldn’t do it anymore.

I remembered, while living in the group home, hearing about a program for mothers and fathers like myself called Passages, and decided that I would give them a call. That’s when I met Stephanie. She was there through thick and thin with me. When I needed to tell her something she was my go-to person. I felt like she was more of a friend than a teacher, but also my light at the end of the tunnel. She was always telling me that everything was going to be okay and that I was going to make it no matter what happened.

I threw Stephanie a lot of curveballs in my many years as a student, but here I am today! I am finally graduating from Passages. It has been the biggest, life-changing experience for me other than being a mother of three children. It has made me realize no matter what the challenge is. . . if there is a will, there is a way!

A. Wahlstrom

Amber Lynn Wahlstrom

My Passages experience started when I first heard about Passages. I was in Richmond High School at the time, and my friend had disappeared. She was about five or six months pregnant, so after not seeing her at school for a few days I was beginning to worry. I asked around to see where she went and was told she started some homeschooling program [Passages]. Well, within a week or two I found out I was also pregnant. At first I wasn’t going to drop out, then after a couple more weeks I started feeling uneasy, and uneasy turned into mind-blowingly sick. I couldn’t leave my bathroom to sleep in my own bed, let alone go to school. I ended up dropping out in September and I started Passages in December of 2014.

In December of 2014 I found out I was going to have a baby girl. Within my first week I was in the program I went to my first workshop. I met some friends that I still remain in contact with. I was beyond nervous, and when I got there it got worse. I was the only one who was pregnant, and I was very obviously pregnant. I felt like I didn’t really belong, but I ended up having the greatest time meeting people and I got to play with a little girl named Sophia all day. That is my first Passages memory.

At first I wasn’t sure how to feel about my teacher, Joy, who, if anyone has met her, knows she’s sweet and would help anyone. Through the years Joy has seen me through some of the hardest times of my life. She’s seen me through motherhood, losing loved ones, homelessness, and motherhood again. She’s never lost hope with me, never let me lose my motivation, and has helped me through the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through. Within almost four years of being in Passages she’s become a very big part of my and my kids’ lives.

Passages is amazing. You learn so much about children and yourself during the process. From Pregnancy to Early Childhood Development, the courses help you learn a lot. Some give you a chance to gain life skills. You learn about driving and car insurance. You also get to learn CPR and First Aid, which in my case changed my entire life, because I’m going into the medical field now, when previously I was going to be a teacher.

I don’t know where I’d be or what I’d be doing right now if I had not started Passages. I would’ve gone through a lot with no support or help. Passages has changed my life in so many ways, I can’t possibly put it all into words. I will always love the bond I have with other students and the teachers, and the bonds my children have with the other students, children, and teachers.

K. Wing

Kayla Christine Wing

First, I want to say that this program has helped me accom- plish a lot of things, not just school, but in be- coming the best mom I can be for my children and getting to know myself. Thank you so much!

This program has helped me learn more than the basic skills in school: it has taught me how to deal with real life, like how to apply for jobs and a lot more. This program has also helped me be a better mom. When I need advice or help with my children they were there to support me and to help me research things.

For example, at one point I needed help finding a parenting group to join and needed help learning how to discipline my child in a healthy way. My teacher helped me and we also were able to incorporate it into my schoolwork.

I also like how they have workshops. They were my absolute favorite because I was meeting new people and moms. I also was learning a lot from the workshops. There was one workshop that stuck out to me and made me so happy. When I first began the Program, we went to an elderly home with my son. The women and men there were so happy to see the children and I loved talking to them and learning about their lives!

Passages never gave up on me, nor did my teachers. This was one of the best programs I have known in my life and will forever have the people all involved in my heart! Thank you, Passages Program, for everything!

Passages Press – Graduation 2017 Part 1

Friday, June 30th, 2017

This year we graduated 19 Passages Students from across the state of Maine! The Passages Press provides an excerpt from each student describing their experience at Wayfinder Schools, and discussing their Passage project, a required final project of the student’s choosing. Congratulations to all of our graduates!


N. Berry

Nikiah L. Berry

Being in the Passages Program has been an amazing experience. I was able to finish school and be a mother to my daughter. When I found out about this program I still thought it was going to be a while until I graduated because I didn’t think I could do it, but I was wrong. It was a self-learning experience and I learned a lot about myself and how to be a better mother. I’ve achieved and amounted to so much this year that I had once thought was beyond me. This program isn’t just school, it also teaches you a lot about life and skills you are going to need as a parent. My teacher has been amazing. She helps me with everything, explains when I don’t understand, and she is great with my daughter and my needs. I feel that leaving this program and going off on my own will be a lot easier because of everything Erica has taught me. My teacher wasn’t just my teacher, but my friend through my experience at Wayfinder, and that is something I admire a lot. I feel like this program was far better than going to regular high school. I would recommend this to any teen parent because honestly it’s the best option in my opinion.

My Passage was baking. I chose this because I have always wanted to be an owner of a restaurant, but haven’t been a good baker. To have a restaurant I think that you need to have baked goods as well as regular food. There’s one catch to my project: I am baking for a diabetic, so my recipes are sugar-free and they have to taste good. I choose to do diabetic recipes for my grandfather because he loves to eat sweets but needs to watch the sugar. My expert Megan helped me through my Passage and taught me a lot of new things that I didn’t know about baking. Learning how to bake has been a wonderful experience, because I can use what I learned at home as well. Without the Passages program I wouldn’t have had this experience and wouldn’t have learned everything that I did and I am very thankful to have this.

S. Callahan

Shane Callahan

When I first started in Passages I thought it was going to be like getting into the GED program. After going through the program, I realized that Passages is way better. I am getting my actual high school diploma, which is a bonus, while being able to work and do other things around my school work. During the program I attended many of the workshops. I enjoyed these workshops mostly because I got to bring my son Brayden, and he got to play with other kids while I was doing school stuff. I like how the program focuses on life skills and not just educational school work.

For my final Passage, I worked with Drew from Midcoast Music Academy to learn to play the drums. One thing I have always loved is music. I have always wanted to learn to play the drums and guitar. Drums have been an  underrated instrument and I thought it would be a perfect fit for me – plus I can jam sometimes with Brayden. If it wasn’t for Passages I wouldn’t be able to afford lessons on my own, plus I don’t think I would have been able to fit it into my schedule if it wasn’t for my teacher helping to motivate me.

D. Debrienza

Deserea Debrienza

As everyone knows, being a young mom isn’t that easy; it’s a little rough! As a young parent, I was trying to finish high school, find a job, and take care of the baby. Thanks to Wayfinder Schools, young parents have a second chance at opportunities they thought they’d lost. The teachers help us students in any way they can. Teachers will try to make it happen, and they are with you every step of the way, even at your own pace! The one special thing that I noticed about being in Passages is that they are not only focused on us students, but they also focus on our kids as well. I thought that was really cool because it made me more comfortable knowing that I have that other person helping me raise my baby; the teachers build a bond with us as much as with our kids!

When I got accepted into Passages I was nervous and scared at the same time, but I overcame all my fears! It was the best choice I have ever made. We go on trips like apple picking, and have special events at the school. I enjoyed myself because they focus on you, the baby, but also your education, and how to use the resources around you. They help you pursue what you want to do in life, even after you graduate.

My experience in Passages has been such a journey for me, and it’s one that I wasn’t expecting. They have so many good opportunities before you graduate and after you graduate. Here I am today taking one step closer–even if it’s tiny steps–to my dreams, all thanks to Wayfinder Schools. Before I was shy, closed up. I was an isolated girl that took a month to say ‘Hi, how are you?’ to one person coming through the door. Now I am saying, ‘Hi, how are you!?’ to everyone I walk by, even if they don’t say it back! It makes me feel better and stronger inside emotionally and physically tobeabletosayIcandothis!!!Iam overcoming my fear of being shy. I want to Thank Katy and Dana for helping me reach my goals.

H. Dow

Heaven Lee Dow

My name is Heaven Dow. I have a fearless 4 year old daughter and a sweet 8 month old boy. I’ve been in the Passages program for about three-and-a-half years. When I started Passages I was completely lost. I felt like I just started my journey in motherhood and I was failing already. As I completed each core skill, I had more and more faith in myself not only as a mother but as a person.

School has always been important to me, but with my home life being so crazy and stressful I couldn’t focus on my work. That’s what this program is for though, to help us young parents who don’t have “normal” lives. Not only is the curriculum fantastic but the student-teacher bond is one of a lifetime.

My teacher Megan has guided me, supported me, and pushed me to do my best more than most adults in my life have. She’s been there for me when it comes to school and when I’ve needed extra support in my home life as well. My fiancé is a recovering addict and I was hit by a car last March, moved twice, and had a beautiful baby this school year. This has been the hardest year yet. I wouldn’t have been able to graduate if Megan wasn’t in my corner supporting me in any way she could. Sometimes she helped by leaving ginger tea outside my door when I had morning sickness, or helping me start easing my way back to school after my accident, sometimes even typing for me when I couldn’t. Some days she just sent me an encouraging text message. She also helped me learn how to parallel park, she took me to get the papers to apply for my permit, and not only watched my children while I did schoolwork, she played with them and built a bond with them that they can hold onto.

This program has changed my life in more ways then I could ever tell you and has changed so many of us young parents lives that wouldn’t have been able to get an education if it wasn’t for Passages.

L. Emmons

Lateesha R. Emmons

Imagine being 20 years old, married, a mother of two, having your own place and your own car, you work and life isn’t so bad, but there is one downfall . . . you haven’t finished high school. Believe it or not, it made me feel ashamed that I was still in school at my age. It made me feel like a child, which I clearly am not.

Wayfinder Schools is a great school. The teachers are wonderful people, you make your own schedule, and do the work on your own time. This school does more than just teach you schoolwork, it teaches you about real life problems. They help you break out of your shell and become the person everyone knows you can be.

Being a mother is hard. Being a mother that goes to school is even harder. Many moms usually just give up on school, but I would tell any young parent that hasn’t finished school to try Passages at Wayfinder Schools. In two short years I finished all my school work, all the community service hours, and here I am getting ready to graduate!! For once in my life I can say I am proud of myself all thanks to the staff of Wayfinder Schools. Thank you!

(Editor’s note: Lateesha is working on her memoir; this is a small excerpt.)

Life’s tough. You have so many things to learn about. Sometimes it will be really hard to even open your eyes, never mind go into the world and have to learn about everything under the sun. As a young child if you have a dream never stop fighting for it. I have always wanted to be a singer, but I let my dream pass. Now, from time to time, I find myself sad, knowing I have a good voice that could have been heard and now is just stuck in the closet forever. Nothing is ever out of your reach. If you work hard and keep a positive mind you will make it.

Every day is a new chance for you to start over or better yourself. A positive lifestyle doesn’t happen in one day. You have to work on yourself and your life every day. Not every day will be easy, nothing that is good comes easy. Just have faith, and hope – never lose hope. Giving up isn’t an option; life is what you make it. Make it a good one.

R. Flanders

Ryan Alexander Flanders

Traditional schools rarely offer students the chance to be self-reflective, or to do something truly meaningful for themselves. As any student in Passages knows that in order to graduate you need to complete your Passage Project. Paraphrasing the Passage Guidelines, it states the project must be something personal, and meaningful.

I have an intense fear of water. I chose to focus on learning to swim for my Passage project. At first I imagined that I was being too self indulgent, too greedy. I thought that to choose something personal was to take advantage of the program for personal gain. While technically, that’s not wrong, now that I’ve started, I understand an entirely new side to this project, and its importance. I chose a fear. It has ruled my summers, time at pools, and prevented many good experiences. I enrolled in a 6-week swimming class as part of my Passage and until I entered the water, I doubted myself completely, but I was very pleasantly surprised. I was nervous, but I had fun. Which hadn’t happened in many years and I was able to push myself, just a bit farther than I expected and that’s incredible.

Without Passages I probably wouldn’t have ever faced my fears and I never would have had the support network that the school offers. It’s a small thing, but in a few moments I proved more to myself than anyone or anything before had. I’ll be forever grateful to Passages for this. It’s just another testament to the fact that this isn’t just a high school. Yes, I completed my credits, and there was work, but the teachers, the personal experiences, the workshops, and the Passage is worlds more meaningful than any other school could ever hope to be. I, like my peers, was going through a very tough time when I enrolled in Passages, but the teachers never gave up on me, they were never unsupportive, and the message that has been driven over and over into my head by this program is that, “I can.” That’s a big thing.

Final thoughts: if there is ever one thing I could share with people, it would be the following passage from one of my favorite people, comedian Bill Hicks. Life is scary, and ever changing, and I like the idea of hope. I like dreams of peace, and I strongly believe that nothing should be taken TOO seriously. This speech encompasses that feeling well:

“The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly colored, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.” -Bill Hicks

D. Foley

Desiree Foley

It’s More Than Just a Diploma

My name is Desiree Foley. I’m 20 years old. I’ve been with Passages since 2015. I really like the Passages program because it has given me an opportunity I never thought I was going to have – which is to graduate. Having an actual high school diploma rather than a GED is a significant accomplishment. When I found out I was pregnant with my son, my life was already going in a downward spiral. I wasn’t in school, and I wasn’t really striving to become anything. My son Landon, even at 2 years old, has been my best cheerleader. He reminds me of why and who I am doing this for.

Thanks to Passages, I’ve found myself. I’m a lot happier and healthier. The school has so much love and compassion for their students. I really like that Passages has given me a chance to still succeed at my job, while being able to work towards my diploma – all with a helping hand along the way. Passages has shown me that I am more than just a statistic. Just because I’m a young mom, doesn’t mean my life is over. They’ve given me so many opportunities I wouldn’t have found on my own.

My teacher Cindy, is an amazing teacher. She’s so passionate, genuine, and understanding. She’s helped me with so much more than just school. She’s helped me with my daily outside life, she pushed me to become a better person, and made me realize that I can do anything I put my mind too. She also taught me that everything gets better in time, and I just need to take everything one step at a time. Everything will work out when it’s supposed to. I really enjoyed being able to have one-on-one meetings with her, and she was so flexible with the scheduling. I’m sure I was a headache for her, but she never lost her patience and never gave up. She’s been the best motivator.

I’m so thankful for my experience with this school. I have so much more in life to look forward to now, and my options are endless. My son now has a mother he can be proud of, I can now say that I have a high school diploma, and that I never gave up. Thank you Wayfinder Schools!

His Life, My Gift

At first, being a single mom was the most terrifying thought I could have; especially a first time mom. How am I going to raise a little human, when I barely have a stable life myself? How am I going to keep him safe and healthy? Going into this alone was hard. I was constantly scared that I was messing up and that I wasn’t giving him the life he deserved. I was scared that I wasn’t giving him enough attention or that I wasn’t making him happy or that I wasn’t helping him reach all his milestones accurately. I was going into this completely blind.

Being a single mom has turned out to be the best experience ever. I’ve gotten to bond with my son on a much higher level because I’m there for all his wants and needs, and I’m all he wants. He’s the happiest baby I’ve ever met. He’s so healthy, and even though he was a preemie, he’s exceeding his milestones. His laugh can make even the greyest days brighter. His smile melts my heart. I’m HIS mumma, and he makes it known. I couldn’t imagine my situation being any different. He’s my absolute sunshine. He’s given me so much strength and courage because everything I do, I do for him.

A. Gabriel

Amber Marie Gabriel
Pleasant Point

My experience with Passages was great. When I first started the program I didn’t know what to expect, but when I got more into the schoolwork I realized that I could do the work at my own pace. That was great. It was nice being able to do the work when I wanted to and I didn’t have to do the work in any special order. I liked that I was able to do whatever core skill I wanted to and when I wanted to.

I also liked being able to stay at home and do my schoolwork. I liked having a teacher come here. My kids enjoyed seeing Fern every Tuesday. I may have slowed down at one point, but Fern never gave up on pushing me to get it done.

Some of the things I remember the most are:

1) A science experiment I did called, “PlasticMilk.”

2) The time I tie-dyed shirts with my sisters and my kids and it
counted as school work.

3) The CPR class was fun, even though I already knew most of what she showed us.

4) Last year’s Christmas party was great because I had both of my kids with me and they had so much fun. My kids decorated plates for my mom as a Christmas present and together we made little rice-stuffed snowmen.

D. Gagnon

Deidra Marie Gagnon

I began the Passages Program four years ago. I had an eleven-month-old named Kaylynn and was due with my second daughter, Evelyn, that month. While being in Passages I learned a lot about myself that I didn’t know before. I learned that I could get through everything that was thrown at me. I also learned a lot about my kids. They have grown up watching me do whatever it takes to make a better life for them and myself.

One of the challenges I faced was juggling school and work, while being a mother to two little girls. Self care has also been a challenge for me because I’m so focused on what my children need that I often don’t stop to think about what I need for myself.

Passages has taught me that just because you’re a young parent doesn’t mean you can’t finish your schooling. I knew that I’d always wanted to be the first one in my family to graduate and I was going to do what it took to get there. This spring, I came close to not doing my final Passage project. After my first expert was unable to work with me I had to find a new one.

During this program I had a few major setbacks, but I wasn’t going to let that get in my way. I took a six week leave due to health issues and I still pushed through even though I needed to focus on getting better. I wasn’t going to let anything bring me down. When I came back from my six week leave I did better than ever. I knocked out assignment after assignment.

My teacher, Joy, pushed me to do my best because she knew what I was capable of and just what I needed to do to pick myself back up. She definitely showed me what the meaning of support was when I felt so alone. I feel honored to be one of her first students in Passages. We grew to find a system that worked for both of us no matter what happened in the process.

Joy is a very caring person and I couldn’t be happier to have her as a teacher. Passages teaches you a lot about self care because if you don’t take care of yourself you won’t be able to provide for your loved ones.

K. Glidewell

Kelly May Glidewell

I loved having a great school. It’s not only great school, but I had great teachers, too. They are all sweet, kind, and caring people. I loved working hands-on rather than in a book because it’s easier for me to learn this way. I also liked learning with a one-on-one teacher. Working around other people in public school made it hard. All the students in Passages were nice and we all got along, plus the other kids and babies were cute. I loved all the workshops we did all together and all the crafts we made. Not only that, but we got to do homework about self care and about the safety of our child. We had to get our First Aid and CPR certification, and our driver’s permit to graduate, which is amazing because getting to places for your child and work is hard sometimes. I’m going to miss going to school, but I’m so happy I chose this place, and I’m happy I got to meet new friends and amazing teachers.

My Passage : Hiking the Dream

Hiking is not only just for the health of my body, it’s what calms me and alters my hormones to a more relaxed, less-stressed state. I like seeing what’s really there, and capturing that in images to share.

My first hike was at Cobscook Park in Edmunds with friends. It was an amazing place to go – really beautiful. We took pictures together and we ended up getting lost, but finally found our way out. A few months later we went there again. We all went for a walk to the beach and around the trails, then we went back to the campsite and we cooked hotdogs and s’mores. It was quite the trip.

Next, Blaine and I went to Reversing Falls in Pembroke with my teacher. I was so amazed to see how nice and beautiful it was there. Blaine and I went to the broken boat on shore. It was so gross and muddy. We followed the trail and ended up finding the way to the huge rock where the tide was switching. When we finally got there and I was so happy to go look and just be with nature – seeing the tides switch and spotting seals. It was the best feeling I’ve had in awhile.

After Reversing Falls, we went to Quoddy Head State Park in Lubec. I never thought we had such a gorgeous place like this not too far from where I live. I took pictures of the huge and beautiful lighthouse near the beach. The lighthouse and the clouds made it look like you were in a beautiful storm. We hiked to a place called The Bog and it was so magical. There was five layers of moss and all kinds of plants with a boardwalk going around it. I loved how peaceful the place was. After The Bog we went to the beach. It was amazing to see the waves crashing on the big rocks. I saw a big rock that looked over the beach, so I climbed it even though it was really windy. I went up there just to get a few photos and to enjoy the satisfaction of actually climbing it and getting the photos I wanted.

I did this Passage because I love the outdoors and I love to get away and to feel peaceful. I take pictures to remember all the cool hikes I did and to capture all the nature around me that you might never know. I would love to be a photographer. I like the exercise aspect of hiking, but I also like the chance to stop and hear things. When you are standing still in the forest, it comes back alive. Some- times it might even forget you are there and allow you the opportunity to see it more as it is when you are not there.

Wayfinder, Tree Street & Lewiston Public Schools receive Barr Foundation grant!

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Wayfinder Schools is part of an exciting new initiative that will allow for new alternative education programming in Lewiston. This project is funded by The Barr Foundation, and we are thrilled to be part of this grant, in partnership with Tree Street Youth and Lewiston Public Schools. Read all about it in The Sun Journal article below!

lewiston sun journal

Congratulations Graduates!

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

grads on starirs

This year, Wayfinder Schools graduated 28 students who are now heading out into the world with their high school diplomas in hand. Some are entering the workforce, and others have been accepted to colleges and technical training programs throughout Maine. They are pursuing careers in welding, cosmetology, nursing, automotive technology, film, the culinary arts, environmental science and more. We are so proud of all our graduates. Congratulations to our Class of 2017!

  OF Passages  all grads!