Tommy Wyman left Portland High School his senior year when he learned that he’d have to take a summer school class to graduate. He worked at Nissen and then Hostess for 25 years until its closure. Unable to find a good job without a credential, he commuted from Steep Falls to PAE to earn his diploma. Tommy especially struggled with understanding algebra, but he ultimately passed the college placement test. Tommy graduated from SMCC with an associate’s degree in Integrated Manufacturing Technology and has doubled his earnings since he started his education with PAE.
Hugues Ingabire arrived in Portland at 19 with a strong desire to go to college, but he had fled Burundi without high school credentials. At PAE’s Street Academy for Homeless Youth, Hugues received study materials and encouragement, enabling him to pass the GED exam. Hugues then enrolled in PAE’s College Transitions program and took every relevant class, starting with courses run by Community Financial Literacy, to learn how he could finance his education while seeking asylum. He received a large scholarship at his graduation and the Portland Schools Superintendent urged him to participate in the MySuccess program at SMCC. He now mentors other MySuccess students and is excelling as a second year student at SMCC, where he received an Emerging Leader award in 2015.