Published Fri, Aug 23, 19.
Written by Scott Chleborad.

"Breaking the cycle of poverty". We often communicate that goal to our stakeholders, supporters and followers. But the actual work of "breaking the cycle" happens every day of the school year, in every classroom through the determination and hard work of every student at Adams Thermal Academies. This work is slow and tedious and requires a future vision for success. So it's important that we take the opportunity at the end of the school year to recharge that vision and remind our students of what success looks like.
On a rainy day in July, parents, teachers, administrators and friends gathered to celebrate the victory of perseverance and achievement. Students from kindergarten up to grade 11 were recognized and encouraged through performances, words of encouragement, photo opportunities and small gifts. 
The ceremony began with Kindergarten graduation, complete with mortarboards, gowns and sashes. While opinions vary throughout the developed world regarding the necessity of graduation ceremonies for young children, at Adams Thermal Academies this ceremony helps to develop a powerful memory and to increase the motivation to remain in our program. Just a few days prior, the kindergarten students witnessed the ceremony for our graduating high school seniors. Statistically, a large percentage of Ethiopian school children will never have the opportunity to experience a graduation ceremony again. And so we seek to reinforce the goal for children and their families to finish both the primary and secondary grade levels. 
Then the event shifted to recognition of the high academic achievers at each grade level. Visitors from the Adams Thermal Foundation staff in the United States were given the privilege of congratulating many of the students, sharing a smile and a hand shake along with some encouraging words and a gift. Then came the photos to document the special day and preserve a memory that will motivate next year's study habits. Again, a vision of success is established and the pathway out of poverty is illuminated. 
Finally, students were recognized for their participation in one or more of the clubs that are offered at Adams Thermal Academies. These clubs are often civic-minded or focused upon self-improvement. Club participation prepares students to become problem-solvers and to work in teams for the benefit of their community. Some of the activities taken up by the various clubs include environmental protection, health & sanitation, sports, ethics and the pursuit of teaching as a future career. Boys and girls from grades 3 up through grade 11 were acknowledged for investing their free-time in club activities throughout the past year.
While the activities of the day could not have been more perfect, the weather left much to be desired. July is the middle of the rainy season in Ethiopia and the outdoor event was interrupted midway through by a cold front and torrential rain. Attendees and guests huddled together in the middle of their respective tents and mud puddles created an obstacle course for every student that was called to the front for recognition. Still, the agenda was completed and every name was read out loud before everyone ran to more hospitable shelter. It was just another timely lesson on the virtue of perseverance.