MeANS 2022 Graduates: We Did It!

Two sets of Maine Academy of Natural Sciences (MeANS) graduates walked across the lawn on our campus in Hinckley, Maine, stepped under our timber frame pavilion, and were handed well-earned high school diplomas in late July. 

MeANS graduates were honored in a ceremony on Friday, July 29, and graduates of our Threshold program were honored on Friday, July 22. A Maine charter school for natural sciences and more, we make sure the education fits the student—not the other way around. 

MeANS graduating class of 2022

General Graduation 2022 

General Graduation 2022 

For the first time since the pandemic, we held our July 29, 2022, graduation ceremonies on campus for 15 graduating seniors under our beautiful pavilion on July 29. 

The last year was a tough one for school students, faculty and administrators across the nation, so it was especially rewarding to see the 2021-2022 class get its’ due with a crowd of parents, supporters and the community savoring every moment. 

“There were so many challenges over the course of the last year, so it was great to see the seniors wrap things up in the way they did,” says curriculum director Evan Coleman. “This was my first graduation at MeANS, so it was pretty incredible to witness.” 

Seniors were celebrated for two nights, first on Senior Night celebrated with students’ families and faculty. Awards were handed out: The Tom Tracy Memorial Award for Business Pursuits; Worthington Scholarship; Mitchell Scholar; Farm Credit East Scholarship; Brenda Poulin Resilience Award; and MCCS Grant Award. 

Each senior read their graduation speech. Three seniors read their speeches to the assembled audience: Braden Boulette, Owen Martin and Patience Goulette. 

“Listening to those speeches made apparent the diversity of experiences our students bring to the table,” says Coleman. “Some have been working part-time and are headed straight into the workforce, others to college when they might not have thought that possible four years ago. It just makes you realize why our individualized approach to learning is so critical.” 

A student speaking at the 2022 MeANS graduation ceremony

Boulette’s speech especially resonated with many in attendance, speaking to the importance of perseverance and seeing the humor in life—even when times are hard. You can read the full speech below, but Head of School Matt Newberg commented: “Braden spoke about having Asperger Syndrome and that could have limited his success, but he really thrived here as a student, even speaking in front of the White House on a trip we made to Washington, D.C.” 

Head of School, Matt Newberg congratulates a new graduate

We were also able to recognize a member of our Governing Board, Cheryl Bulmer, for her inestimable contributions to the school. She’s gone above and beyond as a board member for nine years now and is taking a well-deserved break. She’s still (and will always be) a valued member of our school community and we’re proud to have named our Sugar House after her with a plaque to commemorate the occasion. 

Here at MeANS, we don’t say goodbye to our graduates, we just say good luck, stay in touch and come back to visit often! Congratulations to the Class of 2022—we are SO proud of every one of you! 

Audience at the 2022 MeANS graduation ceremony

Threshold Graduation 2022 

Twenty-nine graduates of our Threshold program hailing from 20 different Maine towns received diplomas on Friday, July 22. They are the fifth class of seniors since the program’s inception in the fall of 2017. 

Students who are successful in the Threshold program come from many walks of life and individual situations. Students in the program work with one teacher to meet all high school graduation requirements. MeANS is a proficiency-based school with all learning standards based on the Maine Learning Results. 

Threshold is an individualized effort to connect disenfranchised youth with their education. Several of the 29 graduates have been raised by grandparents, have been in a foster care situation, or have experienced family tragedy or illness—and have overcome! 

“I came to MeANS because I was being bullied in my former school and it was interfering in my ability to learn,” says one graduate. “Threshold helped me gain skills in self-motivation, communication, and organization, without letting my anxiety get in the way. Thank you for pushing me, thank you for never giving up on me.” 

Among the graduates were two teen mothers; a student who completed a welding course and has a position at Bath Iron Works (BIW) waiting for him; another student completed high school along with a carpentry course while working full time in the field; another young man has been running his own auto sales shop while completing high school. Graduates also included three students who plan to help run family farms and two others completing a CDL truck driving course. Most Threshold graduates have jobs lined up or are heading off to college this fall, many having taken advantage of the dual enrollment opportunity with Kennebec Valley Community College to earn college credits while still in high school. 

“The Threshold graduation really signified our cohesiveness as a school with two wonderful programs and our priority is to support students and families in both programs,”  

The final graduation requirement for MeANS is to write a graduation speech. Although students are not required to read these aloud at graduation, they are encouraged. Many Threshold graduates did read their speeches on Friday.  

Graduation Speeches:

Read a few of our students’ commencement speeches. They’re worth it!
All speeches are PDFs
Braden Boulette
Patience Goulette
Owen Martin  

Quotes From Threshold Graduates: 

Threshold is much more than an alternative. Because of the care that the teachers take to make sure your education fits you, not that you fit the education.

– KP

When I first began this journey, I never thought that there would be other kids like me struggling the way I had been. Uniqueness is all around us. Somehow, I always looked past education when I was in the wrong environment.

– HT

Little did I know how challenging the road ahead would be. Even when I was homeless, none of my teachers gave up on me. In fact, they believed in me more.

– JN

Keep the people who truly care about your well-being by your side and cherish the little moments with each of them.

– ER

To learn more about the Threshold program or to inquire about enrollment please contact Becky Dennison, 207-238-4131. 

The backdrop of MeANS 2022 graduation ceremony