Graduation Time at Fountain House

Posted on July 18, 2014 by Maria Bronkema

Maria B., blog author and proud Columbia University Teachers College graduateMaria B., blog author and proud Columbia University Teachers College graduate

On June 27th we celebrated graduates with speeches, music, and food on our beautiful, flowery horticulture patio. This year, Fountain House’s graduation party was special because we boasted a large number of people who completed college degrees, peer specialist certificates, technology certificates, and even one student who was overjoyed to graduate from high school. As a proud graduate of the MA program for Curriculum Building from Teachers College at Columbia University, I was asked to speak at this awesome Student Gathering.

All speakers agreed that developing determination to overcome obstacles to our education is important. Holding high aspirations and working toward one’s dream is healthy for everyone. The support of the Education Unit staff and members; resources like computers, scholarships and tutoring; and student meetings where we could make inquiries and refine our searches towards a career path all make it possible to achieve success. Staff advice is invaluable to bring a fresh perspective to our studies. Learning is beneficial, and challenging ourselves helps us develop the mindset that we are able to do the impossible. Fountain House helps us gain the confidence to reach our potential.

Twenty-three Fountain House members graduated this year in all, plus one staff. Among them were three bachelor’s degrees awarded in political science, sociology, and criminal justice. Five people graduated with a Peer Specialist Certificate from Howie the Harp Advocacy Center and one completed a similar program affiliated with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). These people are in demand for the work they will do as advocates in jobs requiring empathy, wisdom, and inspiration to help others just beginning their road in recovery. Others with conferred degrees included five associate’s degrees awarded in vast areas like culinary, liberal arts, and psychology. One member earned a Technology Certificate from TCI, and another graduated from APEX with a certification in automotive services.

Congratulations to all our new graduates! May they continue to achieve and to inspire the Fountain House community.

Maria Bronkema
Education Unit, Fountain House


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