The will to come back to school and earn high school graduation is no sure thing when a teen drops out of school, no matter whatever motivation caused the departure.

It was therefore a special evening June 13 when 33 young adults achieved a life milestone by earning their high school diplomas during a festive adult education commencement exercises at New Milford High School.

Michael McCarthy kicked off the program by leading his fellow graduates, families and friends in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Moments later, following words of perspective by adult education director Denise Duggan and guidance counselor Joe Neff, Valerie Marino from the state Department of Education offered her thoughts on the graduates' respective accomplishments.

The graduates' honored speakers were Mark Joyner, Cassidy Veness and Gordon Murdoch.

Following the presentation of diplomas, Class of 2012 adult education graduate Lindsay Ray signalled the start of their new future by leading her classmates in the traditional turning of the tassel.

Those earning high school diplomas via New Milford High School's adult education program were: Aaron Belanger, Heather Borch, Jamie Carroll, Terry Carroll, Michael Chewuk, Kurt Conklin, Michael Cosban, Thomas Degatano, Dan Faucher, Shawn Freundt, Marilyn Hart, Gregory Jajer, Katherine Johnson, Mark Joyner, Thongmy Kom, Andrew LoRico, Joshua Lucas, Michael McCarthy, Samantha McLaughlin, Gordon Murdoch, Raymond Pacheco, Sean Pearson, Kyle Pickle, Lindsay Ray, Ben Scoular, Justin Shook, Amber Varley, Aurora Velazquez, Cassidy Veness, Alexis Wright, Harrison Woods, Lacee Yurtoglu and an anonymous GED recipient.

For more information about New Milford adult education, call 860-350-6647 ext. 1170.

Photography by Walter Kidd