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BOCES graduate named Outstanding Adult Student of the Year                             

Mike Lagace accepts the award

One could say Albany resident Mike Lagace didn’t have a leg to stand on when trying to get an education.

The Shaker High School drop-out broke his leg not once, but twice. Nonetheless, he was able overcome those setbacks and hurdle over several more while earning his high school equivalency (HSE) diploma at Capital Region BOCES this summer. For his stamina and determination, not to mention all of the leg work it took to achieve success, Lagace was presented the Outstanding Adult Student of the Year Award by the New York Association for Continuing/Community Education (NYACCE) during a ceremony at the Century House in Latham on Oct. 17.

“I started the program and then had to drop out because I broke my leg and couldn’t get around. I came back and a few months later, my mother fell ill with cancer and I had to drop out again to take care of her. After she passed away, I got back into the program, but a few months later I broke my leg again. I was out for a couple of months and I came back and was able to finish,” he said. “I was finally able to finally complete a lifelong dream.”

Lagace was one of more than 40 adult students to receive a HSE diploma this July from the Capital Region BOCES Adult High School Equivalency (HSE) Program during a ceremony attended
by dignitaries including Assemblyman John McDonald and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.Lagace poses with family and friends.

Because of all the setbacks, the 47-year-old took two years to complete the work, but was able to pass the HSE test on the first try, said Maria Huntington, Literacy Zone coordinator for Capital Region BOCES.

“Michael was always quick to help his classmates when they struggled with class work, and his encouragement of others was golden — always sincere, but sometimes candid and frank, as well!” said Lori Lower, who teaches the HSE program at Albany's South Campus.

“Michael has a huge heart and I was honored to have had the privilege of guiding him in his HSE studies,” she added.

Lagace was equally appreciative of the BOCES program and his teachers.

“It is a very good program. They kept me going and kept me on track with a lot of encouragement and stuck with me through all of my setbacks,” Lagace said.

In the top photo, Mike Lagace accepts the award and to the right he poses with family and friends and Capital Region BOCES teacher Lori Lower at the NYACCE conference.

 

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