HOLYOKE — The Care Center’s 2023 graduation ceremony will be held at the Wistariahurst Museum on Friday, June 30 from 1 to 3 p.m. Thirteen students attending the Care Center who have passed the HiSet (GED) exam this year will be honored at the event.
Close to 100 people are expected to attend the event at Wistariahurst, at the corner of Beech and Cabot streets. Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia and state Rep. Patricia Duffy will speak at the ceremony, as will the Care Center valedictorian.
“This may be the last graduation in the Valley this year, but most likely the most inspiring,” Care Center Executive Director Anne Teschner said. “These graduates are extraordinary young mothers who give us reason to feel optimistic about our future as a country. All have dropped out of school, struggle with the challenges of poverty and the demands of parenting, yet all returned to their educational path to pass the HiSet (formerly GED) exam. The majority (more than 75%) are continuing to college. Many have already begun their college career. These are smart, capable young women who are facing their life challenges with grace and strength.”
Each year, more than 100 pregnant and parenting teens attend the Care Center, an alternative education center located at 247 Cabot St. Services include academic classes in preparation for the HiSet and college, on-site daycare, counseling, assistance with the transition to higher education, and door-to-door transportation.
The Care Center’s approach has led to regional and national recognition as a model of innovative programming for young families. In 2012, the Care Center was selected as one of 12 organizations in the country to receive the Presidential Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the highest honor a program like this can receive.
In 2016, the Care Center and Bard College launched Bard Microcollege Holyoke, the first college in the country tailored for young mothers, located at the Care Center. In 2019, the Care Center won the Commonwealth Award, the highest award given by the state of Massachusetts to a cultural organization.
The Care Center is supported by numerous funding sources and individuals, including the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and generous donors from throughout the region.