Stamford adult education program gives out 70 diplomas

Photo of Erin Kayata

STAMFORD — When Gabriella Marroquin stayed up late doing homework when she was in high school at the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering, she was often joined by a study buddy: her mother, Norma.

Over the past 13 years, Norma Marroquin has worked her way through the Stamford Adult Education program by taking night classes. On Wednesday, Marroquin was one of 70 graduates to receive a diploma through the Stamford Public Schools Adult and Continuing Education programs. The graduation honored students who got their diplomas through the district’s English as a Second Language program, as well as students who got their GEDs or their diplomas through the High School Credit Diploma Program or the National External Diploma Program.

The ceremony was held Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Cloonan Middle School. The keynote speaker was Dane Scates, a 2014 HDSCP graduate.

Marroquin was honored as the student speaker for the HSCDP, which awards recipients a diploma equivalent to what is given out by Connecticut public high schools.

More Information

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

70

Graduates

Volunteer of the year

Arnold Weiss

Student speaker

Tracey Rowe

Slideshow online at stamfordadvocate.com/graduations

Marroquin was cheered on by her husband and three children, all of whom graduated high school through Stamford Public Schools and two of whom are now enrolled in college. Her son serving in the Marine Corps.

It was her children who inspired Marroquin to enroll in the adult education program. Marroquin, 56, had only completed school up until the sixth grade before she had to leave to support her family in her native Guatemala. When she was 19, she saved up enough money to return to school three more years before the civil war in Guatemala forced her to move to the United States with her husband in 1988.

In 2005, she decided to enroll in the ESL adult education program in between working as a housekeeper, so she could learn English to help her children with their homework. When she received her ESL diploma, she decided to keep attending night classes to get her high school diploma, all while working and raising three children.

“I feel so happy because I never stopped,” she said. “It’s not easy when you have kids and go to school. But I never stopped.”

Marroquin said despite some of the struggles, like having to miss class when her children were sick, she continued to pursue her diploma to serve as an example for them.

“If they see I finished, they’ll finish too,” she said. “I always want to learn. I don’t know if I’m going to stop. I’m going to finish my education.”

Marroquin’s mother, brothers and sister were at the ceremony to watch her become the first of the six children in her family to become a high school graduate. Marroquin, who owns a housekeeping business, is going to continue her education by going for her associates degree at Norwalk Community College in the fall.

“I’m extremely proud after years of seeing her work at home,” said Gabriella Marroquin, 18. “It’s nice seeing all her hard work. I’m really happy to see her shine and walk across the stage.”

erin.kayata@stamfordadvocate.com; (203) 964-2265; @erin_kayata