GED Graduates Celebrate
By Jennifer Duda
Celebrating the achievements of 70 students this year, College of DuPage's Adult Basic Education/General Education Development office honored recipients of GED certificates at a ceremony held May 12. Click here for photos from this event.
The College, which became a DuPage County GED testing site in 1997, offers a range of services to help adults earn a GED certificate. These resources that have helped thousands of adults complete their high school education.
COD Executive Vice President Joe Collins praised students for their determination and commitment to education, encouraging them to take their educational aspirations even further.
"You have all worked hard and endured and persevered in reaching this goal. Now that you've reached this goal, however, you must use it as a springboard for further success," he said. "Your presence here today speaks volumes about your commitment to higher education. You've come far and there is no reason to stop now -- the future is yours."
COD graduation Gerson Alfaro completed his GED in 2010, inspired to continue with a degree in Criminal Justice through a 3+1 agreement between COD and Lewis University.
"After spending two years in ESL classes to improve my English, I enrolled in GED classes, but was still fearful," he said. "Realizing I had nothing to lose, I forged ahead. I took college classes and realized the options available to me. None of that would have been possible had I not taken the risk."
Gabriel De la Cruz was unable to finish high school because of a debilitating neurological disorder. Poised to undergo his 18th major brain surgery this month, he said education is the key to obtaining his life's goal to become a paleontologist.
"I felt school was taken away from me because of my condition and the accommodations
it requires," he said. "I applied for and received the Jump Start Scholarship and
just finished two college courses. In life, we are not defined by the challenges we
face, but those we overcome."
Derrick D. Smith dropped out of high school his senior year of high school to get a job and help his single mother's finances. After 30 years, however, he found himself unexpectedly unemployed and under-qualified for the job market, prompting him to return to school to earn his GED.
"I knew I needed a high school diploma to get a job in this economy," he said. "After passing the GED exam, I was happier than a fat rat in a cheese factory. The confidence I have in myself is far greater than I could ever have imagined."
More than one million people take the GED test annually in the United States and Canada and, of those, about 75 percent move on to a post-secondary education.
Melanie Wallace said she is proud to be among this year's graduates from the GED program and credits the program with providing her a means toward advancement.
"I left high school in 2006 due to a lack of motivation," she said. "I feel confident and ready to continue with school and I encourage anyone who didn't finish high school to start small by taking placement tests."
The May 12 ceremony also honored students receiving scholarships to continue their studies:
GED Graduate Scholarship: Cassandra Fordrung and Kathryn Stepp; Danny Young Memorial Scholarship: Gerson Alfaro and Fernando Moreno; Jump Start Scholarship: Juliet Adjei, James Bosley, Dashonte Braboy, Tyler Bush, Raul Carrillo, Joshua Clark, Kelly Dean, Gabriel De la Cruz, Michael Biggy Seth Fiatsi, Shirley Fizer, Joshua King, Kelly Klein, Thelma Lugo, Ruperto Morales, Karen Ortiz, Sharvell Ousley, Tammy Perkins, Anna Pokopowicz, Norma Sanchez, Nareman Srour, Kathryn Stepp, Tara Jaye Noble, Sharon Tierney and Matthew Trotta.
For more information on the College's GED program, call (630) 942-2562, or visit:
Pictured: GED student Norma Sanchez accepts congratulations from Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Earl Dowling and Jarrett Dyer, Chief GED Examiner for DuPage County, College of DuPage Testing Center at the 20th annual graduation ceremony held May 12. (Press Photography Network/Special to College of DuPage)
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