Valley Regional Adult Education graduation ceremony

Students from the Valley Regional Adult Education program walked the stage and received their high school diplomas amongst cheers from their family and friends on June 9.

The first student speaker Jill Belward, of the Shelton credit diploma program, thanked her family, friends, faculty and classmates for always supporting her educational pursuit.

"There is no greater satisfaction in life than setting a goal, making a plan and not only seeing it through but accomplishing it,” said Belward.

Belward plans to continue her education at Naugatuck Community College this fall for a degree in radiologic technology.

Congratulatory remarks were made by Mayor Mark Lauretti, Superintendent of Shelton Schools Dr. Christopher Clouet and Shelton Board of Education Chairman Mark Holden.

"I believe that the value of an education is the most important thing that an individual can do in their life because when they are educated they have the ability to move forward in life,” said Lauretti. “And moving forward really encompasses so many different things that impact so many people.”

13 out of the 21 students that earned their diplomas were in attendance. The youngest student was 18 and the oldest was 47.

Allen Heady and his younger sister came to support their sibling Erin Silinsky as she graduated.

"So proud of her she is the best little sister,” said Heady. “She's the most hardworking."

Silinsky would go on to be awarded the Housatonic Community Scholarship.

Around $4,000 worth of scholarships were awarded at the graduation. The other recipients who earned the Nicholas and Madeline Conti Scholarship and Liberty Bank Scholarship were: Portia Stephens, Ashley Mut and Jull Belward.

“None of this would be possible without any of my supporters so a big thank you to everyone here in this program you have all had the biggest impact on my life,” said Ashley Mut in her address to the audience. “I never thought I would be saying but if I was able to stay here forever I would."

As Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” played out the students threw their caps into the air and celebrated with the audience.

"Well this is a great event, this really marks a milestone on the lives of all these graduates and their families because having an education makes a difference,” Lauretti said.