This year, Knox County locals seeking higher education met many challenges with graduations from high school and college.

These challenges were tripled for a family in Friendship with a mother and both her daughters graduating in 2020.

Shelby Lash graduated from Medomak Valley High School. She was eighth in her class. Shelby was the secretary for the Student Council and a member of the National Honor Society. She has been dancing for 15 years and taught dance classes at Midcoast Dance Studio.

Shelby will be attending the University of Tampa with a biochemistry major. She plans on continuing her education onto medical school to focus on pathology. Shelby will also continue her dancing at the University of Tampa.

Alexia Hilt received her bachelor’s degree in business administration and management with a minor in dance from the University of Maine. She graduated cum laude. Alexia participated in dance and skating clubs. She was president of the ballet club, tango club, and figure skating club. She is currently working at Hannaford and with Faye Cain at Midcoast Dance Studio.

Alexia has been dancing for 14 years, and plans to leverage her education to open her own local dance studio within the next year.

Alelia ‘Ali’ Hilt-Lash completed her doctoral degree in business management with a specialization in leadership through Capella University. Her published dissertation focused on the impact of transformational leadership on hospital quality.

Ali is currently the Director of Quality and Safety at Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital. She plans to continue working in healthcare, while also keeping her skills current through teaching, researching and writing.

Aaron Lash, Ali's husband, said he couldn’t be prouder of his wife and two daughters.

While 2020 has been and continues to be a year of challenge and change, families like the Lash's continue to make great strides in pursuit of their education.