COD Celebrates 22nd Annual GED Commencement

By Jennifer Duda

College of DuPage’s Adult Basic Education/General Education Development office honored 77 recipients of their newly earned GED certificates at a ceremony held May 17. Click here for photos from this event.

The College, which has been a DuPage County GED testing site since 1997, offers a range of services to help adults earn a GED certificate. These resources have helped thousands of adults complete their high school education. 

College of DuPage President Dr. Robert L. Breuder praised students for their determination and commitment to education, encouraging them to take their educational aspirations even further. Pausing briefly during the ceremony, Dr. Breuder recounted his own struggles in the classroom and in determining a major. As a community college president for more than 30 years, Dr. Breuder credits the opportunity of this educational system for both his career and personal success.

“You stopped for one reason or another, but you found a way to get through and we couldn’t be prouder of your accomplishment,” he said. “There will always be situations in life that get in the way, but you must find a way around them. Today is not the end. Know that you have family and friends here to help you achieve the success that you, yourself, define.”

Guest speaker Susan Neustrom, Ph.D., waited 30 years to pursue her GED and at age 48, took on the added challenge of pursuing her associate degree.

“I took the confidence I gained from that GED and earned two associate degrees from COD, then a bachelor’s, then a master’s and, in 2010, a Ph.D.,” she said. “You now have the power of education and the inspiration to achieve any dream. It took a tremendous amount of courage to take that test. You are all role models.”

Adriana Mendez of Warrenville wasn’t encouraged to pursue education as a teenager and was instead pushed to find work when her parents moved the family from Mexico to the Chicago area. The birth of her daughter, however, inspired her to return to school.

“I began taking ESL classes and I got my GED in Spanish in 2012,” she said. “I enrolled at COD and started taking academic ESL classes to further improve my English. I realized quickly that at COD, you are not alone. I want to continue my education and want to study communications to become a journalist. COD is making that possible.”

Fellow speakers Maria Munoz (West Chicago), Chanbopha Loera (Glendale Heights) and Megan Bowie (West Chicago) shared similar sentiments.

More than one million people take the GED test annually in the United States and Canada and approximately 75 percent of these individuals move on to a post-secondary education.

The May 17 ceremony also honored students receiving scholarships to continue their college studies:

  • Certificate of GED Scholarship: Gabriel Delacruz and Amanda Levine
  • Jump Start Scholarship recipients: Elvira Alba, Ann Altaweel, Dolores Alvarez, Jessica Alvarez, Christopher Atkinson, Lu Sing Aung, Cesar Barajas, Mayra Barajas-Alcazar, Megan Bowie, Monica Breitweiser, Mariana Carrisoza, Marisol Castellano, Victor Castellano-Rodridgez, Hui Ying Chou, Shannon Civitello, Christopher Dearnley, Sheila Estrada, Elzbieta Gosinski, LaTasha Kimbrough, Christopher Kozawick, Jossiela Kukulka, Marzena Luberda, Za Lian Mawi, Aamna Meah, Diana Moreno, Corina Mueller, Maria Munoz, Kimberly Nalon-Thompson, Ross Niewald, Gulzar Noormohammed, Anna Ochab, Leanne Pearce, Jeremy Pocius, Julisa Ramirez, Bathsheba Ramsey, Arturo Rojas, Jairo Rojas, Alison Rowan, Erick Silva, Brigitti Sosa, Kelsey Staab, Monica Sturgeon, Susan Swartz, Domonique Watson, Michelle Wauer and Stephanie Welch.


For more information on the College’s GED program, call (630) 942-2562, or visit:


Pictured: GED student Aaron Wathall is congratulated by College of DuPage President Dr. Robert L. Breuder during the May 17 GED Commencement Ceremony. Wathall is one of three Outstanding Students from the 2014 GED class and one of 265 students to earn his GED certificates this year at the College. (Press Photography Network/Special to College of DuPage)