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Caring educators credited with student’s success


BPS Adult Education Division Administrators met with GED graduate. Left to right: Lisa Baines, Supervisor; Amanda Vellake, Director; Derek Zieziula, Graduate; Chantal Michaux, Career Advisor; Marielle Foster, Supervisor.

The Buffalo Public Schools Adult Education Division has been offering high school equivalency diploma (HSE) classes for decades. Thousands of students have graduated over the years and moved on to higher education, workforce training, and gainful employment because of this important credential.

One of them recently returned to share his story about perseverance, academic achievement, and a teacher and an advisor who made all the difference in the world. In August, Derek Zieziula met with the Division’s Director Amanda Vellake and her leadership team to recount his educational experience and recognize the Division’s instructional staff whom he credits for his success.

Studies have shown that students are more motivated to learn and be engaged in the classroom when educators demonstrate that they care. In addition to learning what he
needed to pass the GED® exam, Derek acquired life skills that have enabled him to succeed.

After receiving his diploma, he went on to enroll at Bryant and Stratton and is currently working as a commercial realtor with Hunt Real Estate while also studying investment banking.

GED Student Finds "Pathways" to Success at SUNY Erie 

Ian Stover.jpg

Ian Stover

“Earning my GED was like a whole new world for me,” explains Ian. “Every single staff member I interacted with was extremely understanding and helpful. They really helped build my confidence.”

Buffalo Public Schools Adult Education Division partners with SUNY Erie Community College in support of the Pathways to Success program.  Students in need of earning their high school equivalency diploma can enroll in the program that starts with preparatory classes for passing the GED® exam.  Adult Education Division instructional staff teach onsite at SUNY Erie’s downtown campus.  While completing GED coursework, students also have access to SUNY Erie staff and supportive services leading to higher education attainment.


Ian Stover is one student who took advantage of this program.  Click here to read more about his academic success: 

SUNY Erie Community College Graduate


The BPS Adult Education Division would like to congratulate our former student, Carl Thomas, who recently received his Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts. Carl is a determined and persistent individual who sets goals and achieves them.  The Division wishes him great success in his future culinary ventures.  Way to go, Carl!

Student expresses gratitude to staff

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Sharon Thomas, an Advisor at the Buffalo Public Schools Adult Learning Center, received this card from a recent GED graduate.  The student recently earned her NYS high school equivalency diploma after completing preparatory classes and passing the GED® exam in May 2023.

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