Working parents honored as top students at Central Maine Community College

By Bonnie Washuk, Sun Journal
Posted Dec. 03, 2011, at 1:32 p.m.

AUBURN, Maine — Nate Berube, 27, is a busy guy.

A resident of Greene, he’s the father of one daughter and stepfather of another. He and his wife, Katie, are expecting a baby in April.

Berube works stocking shelves from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. at Lewiston’s Hannaford store. He’s also taking five classes at Central Maine Community College.

On Friday, Berube was honored with one of two student awards during the College for ME-Androscoggin annual luncheon at the Hilton Garden Inn.

The other winner is Kaplan University student Angela Cyr of Monmouth, a therapeutic foster parent who has several children with special needs.

Sheila Lawlor of CMCC nominated Berube for several reasons, she said. “He amazes me every time I see him,” Lawlor said. “He is so dedicated. When I met him he was working two jobs, seven days a week, and going to school getting good grades.”

Berube has since won acceptance into a new “Accelerate ME” program, which helps students finish their degree by paying for their courses, provides academic advising and priority registration. The goal of the program, Lawlor said, is to help create more taxpayers with degrees.

Before the program, Berube was paying for his classes out of pocket because he did not want to take out loans, he said.

“He works so hard. He never complains,” Lawlor said. He always has a smile on his face. He’s reserved, working hard is a way of life for him.”

A business major, Berube said his classes are on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On those days he gets minimal sleep. “When I do have spare time, I pick up my daughter. I’ll pick her up at school and have her here for the weekend.”

He plans to get his associate degree this spring and work toward his bachelor’s degree.

He started college after graduating from high school in Jay. After his daughter was born, he quit college to work full time, he said.

He decided to go back to college “to provide a better living for my family, not live week to week.”

During the presentation of his award, Lewiston Adult Education Director Eva Giles praised Berube as someone who stands as an example to others for how he balances family life, education and career, as well as being a genuinely nice guy.

The second student award winner, Angela Cyr, is studying early childhood development while working as an ed-tech for the Lewiston School Department.

Cyr’s choice of study is connected to her personal life. She and her husband, Joey Cyr, are therapeutic foster parents. In the last 20 years they have raised seven children with special needs. They have adopted three of them.

While caring for her children and advocating for their educational needs, Cyr completed her associate degree with a 4.0 GPA. Her experience as a parent fed her desire to become a special education teacher.

On Friday, Giles praised Cyr as someone who balances home, work and school with grace and compassion. She was described “as a striking example of the power of a student making positive change in her own life, her family’s and community.”

The College for ME-Androscoggin luncheon is held on the first Friday in December to celebrate the success of improving the community’s college-going climate, said Jan Phillips, executive director of the College for ME-Androscoggin. The luncheon is where people can hear “the most inspiring stories of people you’ve never heard of.”

To see more from the Sun Journal, visit sunjournal.com.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/12/03/news/lewiston-auburn/working-parents-honored-as-top-students-at-central-maine-community-college/ printed on July 24, 2014