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Students honored for accomplishments

From left, Kayla Hogabone, Assemblyman Robert Smullen, Jaramie Allen, Adam VanAvery and HFM BOCES Adult Education Administrative Coordinator Laurie Bargstedt. The assemblyman recently met with the adult graduates to congratulate them for their New York Association of Continuing and Community Education honors. (Photo submitted)

JOHNSTOWN– Three recent adult graduates of the Gloversville Literacy Zone, a program of Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services, have been honored for their accomplishments by the New York Association of Continuing and Community Education.

Gloversville resident Adam VanAvery and Johnstown resident Jaramie Allen, who both earned their high school equivalency diplomas through BOCES and are now in college, have been named 2019 Outstanding Adult Education Students of the Year. NYACCE has also recognized a third recent adult graduate, Kayla Hogabone of Gloversville, with an honorable mention in this year’s awards. Hogabone also recently earned her high school equivalency diploma and now works full-time as a teacher’s aide in the Gloversville Literacy Zone.

The award winners were honored at a banquet Oct. 8 at The Century House in Latham.

Dealing with anxiety, VanAvery dropped out of high school in the ninth grade after which his life spiraled into addition. With support from several programs, VanAvery entered rehab and decided education would support his efforts to create a different life. He earned his diploma in December.

VanAvery is now a student at Fulton-Montgomery Community College and is studying to become a credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor. He also recently completed recovery coach training through the HFM Prevention Council and will be working toward becoming a certified recovery peer advocate. He is an active participant in the Rob Constantine Recovery Community and Outreach Center and has been active at FMCC to establish a recovery community for other college students and to raise awareness among staff about the recovery process.

A Schenectady native, Jaramie Allen attended high school on Long Island where he made it through his senior year but did not earn a diploma. He moved back upstate and held a warehouse job for many years and started a family before he became addicted to drugs and alcohol. While in recovery, he discovered the opportunities available at the Gloversville Literacy Zone.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life but I just knew I had to change. I had to be there for my kids,” Allen said.

He earned his high school equivalency diploma in the summer of 2018 and is now enrolled at FMCC in the chemical abuse counseling program working toward becoming a credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor.

Allen is very active in the local recovery community, including the Rob Constantine Recovery Community and Outreach Center and Recovery is Real, a grassroots recovery support movement. He is also active on the FMCC campus helping raise awareness about addiction and recovery among students and staff, and he volunteers in the community, including a local food pantry and other organizations.

A single mother of four with no high school diploma, Kayla Hogabone struggled financially trying to support her family working as a temp, a cashier, and a personal care aide all while caring for sick members of her extended family.

Overwhelmed by her life circumstances, but realizing the need to improve her employment options and self-esteem, she enrolled in classes at the Gloversville Literacy Zone. She had many reasons to stop going to class, but she persevered attending classes when she could and using online learning toolsoutside of class.

She graduated in 2018 after which she offered to come back to class to encourage and help others who faced obstacles to completion. She proved so helpful to other students and staff that she was the first teacher’s aide hired by HFM BOCES Adult Literacy and Corrections Education. She now works full-time at BOCES. To further broaden her employment options, she is preparing to take a Civil Service exam, something she was not eligible to do without her high school diploma.

“There’s a lot of things you can’t do without a diploma,” Hogabone said.

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