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In the middle of an interview with Omega School Executive Director/Principal Oscar Mireles about Omega School’s annual Prom Celebration – the annual fundraising event that helps Omega School with its mission of providing opportunities for people to enhance their lives and expanding their opportunities through adult basic education – we get interrupted two separate times by students with some urgent questions.

“It’s the busy time of year,” Mireles smiles. Omega School graduation is coming up fast – June 21 is the date where a community celebration will be held to celebrate dozen of students who have finished up their GED/HSED. “We’re well on our way to getting people to finish up – as you were witness to. A lot of times it’s at the last second for some. We have about five weeks to go to get people to finish up. It’s crunch time.”

Since 1972, Omega School has provided individualized basic skills instruction in a supportive and informal atmosphere, and by working cooperatively with other agencies and institutions, has helped thousands of adults prepare for, and obtain, a GED/HSED credential. The Omega School Prom is an annual event held in May that is a night of dinner, dancing, and fun hosted by Omega students and graduates. This year, it will be held Friday, May 18, at 5:30 p.m. at the Concourse Hotel in downtown Madison.

Omega School graduates
(photo by Martin Jenich)

“It’s an annual dinner – we call it a prom because we are a school. It’s a chance to celebrate what we’ve done for the year,” Mireles tells Madison365. “Graduates will share their stories about where they were before – a little off track and not where they wanted to be – and where they are now after they’ve earned their GED and are moving on.

“One of our speakers just finished their first semester at Madison College and another works at the Boys and Girls Club and just got a scholarship to Herzing College to go back to school,” Mireles adds.

The keynote speaker of the 2018 Omega School Prom will be Lisa Peyton-Caire, assistant vice president of Life, Learning and Events at Summit Credit Union. Peyton-Caire leads the company’s efforts on financial education, community giving, corporate events, and directs strategy for diversity and inclusion and employee wellness. In her spare time, Peyton-Caire is also deeply engaged in the greater Madison community serving as the founder and president of The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness, a non-profit organization launched in 2012 that is committed to eliminating health disparities and other barriers impacting the lives of African-American women and girls.

“We are very happy to have Lisa for this event. She worked here at Omega for awhile before she was at Summit,” Mireles says. “She did some great development work for Omega and she was able to meet some of our students and to see firsthand the work we do here.”

Kimila Daniels

At the prom event, Omega will be honoring people who, as Mireles says, “are doing great things in the community who are little unsung,” including Kimila Daniels, Joanna Burish, and Ali Muldrow.

“As part of an organization that is changing and transforming, Kimila has been involved with a lot of things here in the community that makes Madison a better place,” Mireles says of Daniels, who is Chief Administrative Officer for Quartz Health Solutions. “She has carved her own path and is doing great things.”

“We will also honor Joanna [Burish], who is an agent with Northwestern Mutual Life and has done work with Clean Lake Alliance and downtown Rotary, for the great work she has done in the community, as well as Ali [Muldrow], who is doing great work at GSAFE and represents the younger generation of activism in this community,” Mireles adds.

Ali Muldrow

Mireles is not shy about admitting that he’s part of that older generation in Madison and mentions that he’s celebrating his 24th year at Omega School.

“We’re already looking forward to next year which will be my 25th anniversary and we want to make it even better,” Mireles says.

Twenty-five years? How is that even possible? Does it seem like 25 years?

“Well, I started when I was two and I think it’s worked out pretty good,” Mireles laughs. “I’m very happy. A lot of what we’ve been able to do is because of the support of the community.”

Support that comes from events like the annual Omega School Prom.

“This is a great community event. DJ David Muhammad will be performing. He’ll play traditional, old school music from Motown to old hip-hop and some Latin music, too,” Mireles says. “It’s a fun time. It’s a chance for people to be around a diverse audience and also a great chance to see what we do here at Omega School.”

You can still get tickets to the annual Omega School Prom at the Madison Concourse Hotel on Friday, May 18. Tickets for this fundraiser are $75. You can purchase a ticket from Oscar Mireles, call the office at (608)256-4650 or email info@omegaschool.org to make arrangements. All net proceeds will benefit Omega School.

Written by David Dahmer

David Dahmer

A. David Dahmer is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Madison365.

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