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Ceremony Celebrates Multilingual Seniors Who ‘Made It Happen!’

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Ceremony Celebrates Multilingual Seniors Who ‘Made It Happen!’
Posted on 05/15/2017
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A celebration of achievement will be held Wednesday, May 17, for more than 90 graduating seniors from the Portland Public Schools’ Make It Happen! program. The students didn’t grow up speaking English as their native language. Now, they not only have learned English but also are graduating from the city’s public high schools, and most of them are headed to college.

“This is a wonderful example of the kind of success we strive to achieve in the Portland Public Schools,” said Portland Superintendent Xavier Botana. “These students are representative of the best of what we’re able to do.”

The 2017 “I Made It Happen!” Celebration runs from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will take place at the University of Southern Maine, Abromson Community Education Center's, Hannaford Hall, at 88 Bedford Street. Each student will be recognized and honored and given a certificate of achievement.

Make It Happen! is a program of the Portland Public Schools’ Multilingual & Multicultural Center. It’s a college-readiness and academic success program for language minority students in grades 8 through 12 that is designed to help students raise and realize their academic aspirations. The program provides students with personalized and structured academic support to ensure their success in school and help prepare them for college. AmeriCorps site coordinators and volunteer academic coaches help students take challenging classes, develop strong college applications, and engage in civic and leadership activities.

The approximately 50 institutions of higher learning at which the students have been accepted include a number of highly competitive colleges and universities in Maine and beyond.

Invited attendees at this year’s “I Made It Happen!” Celebration include Superintendent Botana; Mayor Ethan Strimling; Grace Valenzuela, director of the Multilingual & Multicultural Center; Timothy Cronin, Make It Happen! Program Director; members of the Portland Board of Public Education; members of the Portland City Council; Portland Public Schools’ teachers and other staff; and representatives from the offices of Maine’s congressional delegation: U.S. Sen. Angus King and U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree. Also in attendance will be Make It Happen! volunteer mentors, known as academic coaches, who help students succeed; students’ parents and families; and Make It Happen! AmeriCorps site coordinators who work directly with the students. Additionally, representatives from a number of community partners that work directly with Make It Happen! students will be in attendance at the event. Those partners include The Telling Room, Portland Mentoring Alliance, Seeds of Peace, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Cultivating Community, SEALFIT, Rippleffect and Let's Get Ready.

Those wishing to attend the event are asked to RSVP at multilingualcenter1@gmail.com or call 207-842-4657.

PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured are 2016 “I Made It Happen” graduates