Celebrating the Faces of Success

Family at Literacy CelebrationVita hosted a gathering of students, tutors, and teachers from the Literacy Tutoring and High School Equivalency programs to recognize and honor student and volunteer achievements during the past academic year. Over 100 people attended the celebration held at Bensalem Library on July 27.

Executive Director Mercedes Anderson, welcomed the crowd and set the theme for the event, which was a celebration of the faces of success. Attendees included students and their proud families and friends as well as Vita tutors, teachers and staff members.

Kathy White, Director of Literacy & High School Equivalency (HSE) Programs, honored the students, paying tribute to their courage, dedication, and hard work, noting the many challenges faced by adult learners.





Achieving Their Goals

Justina Ciechanowicz, Danielle Marino, and Veronica Herea-Zamora spoke at the celebration.

Students speakers included Justyna Ciechanowicz, Veronica Herera-Zamora, and Danielle Marino, who all passed their High School Equivalency tests and received diplomas, and Malama Sesay, who attained United States Citizenship. They each gave moving speeches about overcoming many challenges and barriers that face adult learners and their persistence that enabled them to achieve their goals. Overall, 13 students received their High School Equivalency diploma and three attained U.S. Citizenship this year.



Legislators Recognize Student Success

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick presents a certificate to Malama Sesay, who attained U.S. Citizenship.

State Representative Gene DiGirolamo and U.S. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick both attended the event and addressed the crowd.

Congressman Fitzpatrick presented certificates to students who attained their High School Equivalency Diploma or United States Citizenship along with United States flags, which were flown over the United States Capital in recognition of their achievements.

Students who attained their High School Equivalency Diploma or United States Citizenship also received certificates of achievement from State Senator Bob Mensch.



Rep. Gene DiGirolamo spoke about his immigrant grandparents, their struggles and achievement, and the importance of education. His words seemed to resonate with Vita’s students, many of whom are immigrants.

Vita Board Member Mike Harrison, Director of Literacy and High School Programs, and Executive Director Mercedes Anderson with State Representative Gene DiGirolamo.








Literacy Tutoring Coordinator Pat Stansfield with some of Vita’s literacy tutors.

Tutors Help Make It Possible

Pat Stansfield, Vita’s Literacy Tutoring Program Coordinator, recognized Literacy Tutors who volunteer their time to work with students to help improve their reading, writing, and math skills and work toward getting their HSE diplomas. She thanked them for the hours and hours of volunteer time, noting the accomplishments of their students that came as a result of the commitment and hard work of both tutors and students.

Daria Krivosheey, owner of DK Photography, was the photographer for the event. Daria was a student in Vita’s “Grow Your Own Business” Integrated English Literature and Civics Education class, which combines English language learning and professional training to start or expand a business.

Vita’s teachers were recognized for their dedication and support in helping students achieve their goal. The crowd applauded the success of the students and the contributions made by teachers and tutors.