AUBURN, Maine – Skelton Taintor & Abbott attorney Ronald P. Lebel and his wife Joanne recently had the pleasure of presenting the Against All Odds Scholarship Award to Kauna Yaga, a student at Central Maine Community College (CMCC), at the college’s annual dinner. The dinner was hosted by CMCC’s Education Foundation Board of Directors, of which Lebel is a member. Ronald and Joanne Lebel are long-time sponsors of the event and the Against All Odds Award, which recognizes the courage and strength of character of the recipient. The award is given in memory of Joanne Lebel’s late mother, Simonne Bruneau, who exemplified those qualities.
Yaga’s story is one of survival, perseverance, determination and the power of education. On April 14, 2014, she and fellow students at a boarding school in the village of Chibok in northern Nigeria were kidnapped by armed members of the jihadist terrorist group Boko Haram. Then 17, Yaga and several girls escaped by jumping off the truck transporting them to a Boko Haram base of operation and disappearing into the forest.
After spending the night hiding in the forest, the girls found others doing the same and together made their way back to Chibok where she was reunited with her mother and other family members. Her father had been killed the previous year. Several months later, Yaga arrived in the United States. After spending time in Virginia and New York, she came to Maine in August 2017, earning her high school diploma through Turner Adult Ed.
A student at CMCC since fall 2018, Yaga has achieved a GPA of 3.23. The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, tweeted his congratulations for Yaga.
Her enthusiasm for her life at the college is great. “I wish my schoolmates were here with me so that they could have this education that I am having,” she said.
Lebel’s practice focuses on divorce and family law, general litigation, municipal and government and zoning and land use. He is an accomplished trial lawyer with substantial experience in areas that intersect with complex divorce, such as real estate, pensions, trusts, wills, business valuation and corporate and tax law.
Lebel has received the prestigious AV-rating from Martindale-Hubbell®. He regularly participates in mediation as an attorney and has served as a mediator. He frequently lectures on family law and related topics at continuing legal education seminars.
Skelton Taintor & Abbott is one of Maine’s leading law firms serving individuals and businesses in litigation and general representation throughout northern New England for more than 150 years. The firm has been named in U.S. News-Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” in America. For more information, visit www.STA-Law.com or call 207-784-3200.