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Savana Summers

By Lisa Blanchette

Many teenagers have just graduated or are getting ready for graduation in the coming week. Savana Summers is not one of them…not a teenager, that is. Savana is 26. When her peers were getting ready for graduation in 2019, she had already been through a lot in her life. She was living in New Hampshire, couch surfing, dealing with a parent’s addiction, developing an addiction of her own, She was a struggling student and then a high school drop-out. Jump ahead to 2024 and Savana is nervously preparing her student speech for Sanford Community Adult Education’s Graduation ceremony, scheduled to take place on June 12.

What happened to Savana during those years? She had two children, she got clean, got married, became the licensed foster parent of her 4-year-old sister, developed a goal/mission to go to cosmetology school, and she found a place of support and encouragement at Sanford Community Adult Education. SCAE was the place where she received her preparation to complete the HiSET (High School Equivalency Diploma). It was no easy task. She still struggles with comprehension of reading materials and childcare was not always available when she needed time to study. Savana says the administration and teaching staff of SCAE were like a family for her while she studied, and she was fortunate to have the support of her husband at home as well. The help she received at SCAE was not just academic. The staff went out of their way to provide support in any way they could.

What is next for Savana? A whole new chapter of her life…a chapter she could not even have dreamed would be open to her five years ago. She starts Empire Beauty School in September with scholarships and grants in place for financing. When asked why cosmetology, Savana answered that it’s a career for herself and to help provide for her children. But also, it’s a career that will make others feel good about themselves. In the future Savana would like to explore the possibly of taking her cosmetology talents to sober houses.

When asked what advice she would give to someone without a high school credential, she said, “make your goal your mission and go for it!”

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