SANFORD – Loud clapping and cheering greeted the spring graduating class of Central Carolina Community College’s Adult High School and GED programs as they entered the main hall of the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center for their June 16 commencement.
Cameras flashed around the large hall as family and friends took pictures of the event. The class members, impressive in their dark blue robes, responded with big smiles.
A total of 143 students in the college’s Adult Education Department completed their studies for their Adult High School or GED diplomas during the spring semester. Among them were student graduation speakers Devan Harris, of Chatham County, Victor Bass, of Harnett County, and Jennifer Howell, of Lee County.
Harris dropped out of high school 16 years ago and worked in the retail business. Then, he heard about CCCC’s Sustainable Technologies program. He moved his family 3,000 miles, from Oregon to Chatham County to train for a new career. The first step in continuing his education was earning a GED diploma. Now, with that in hand, he is enrolling in Sustainable Technologies.
“Education is the most powerful resource we have,” he told the graduating class. “We’ve opened doors that will lead us on the paths we choose. We did it – and we will continue to do it!”
Howell said that by coming to CCCC Adult Education, she was able to graduate from high school a year earlier. She is continuing her education at the college.
“Education is the key to success,” she said to her fellow graduates. “Now, go out there and do something wonderful!”
Bass said a lot of people he knew told him he wouldn’t make it when he said he was going back to school. He had dropped out of high school in 1997 and struggled, working a number of different jobs.
“I knew I was better than what I was doing,” Bass said.
He came to CCCC, now has his GED diploma and is already taking Computer Engineering Technology classes.
Bass then wowed the audience with a rendition of “I Believe I Can Fly” a song that expressed his feelings about what he has achieved and what he will yet achieve.
CCCC Vice President of Academic Affairs Lisa Chapman followed Bass at the lectern.
“We believe all of you can fly,” she said to the graduates. “We are so proud of you.”
Chapman then announced scholarships among the graduates. Five were presented: CCCC Foundation scholarships to Devan Harris, of Chatham County, Tyffin Walker, of Harnett County, and Spencer Bridges, of Lee County; W.B. Wicker Memorial Scholarship, to Victor Bass, of Harnett County; and the Donald N. Buie Memorial Scholarship, to Jennifer Howell, of Lee County.
Several members of the graduating class were honored for excelling academically. Sierra Dixon, Ann Myers and Andrew Hicks maintained a 94+ grade point average in their Adult High School studies. Ryan Anderson, Noah Bagwell, Katherine Bielby, Juan Campos, Thomas Corns, Andrew Cullen, June Estep, Jennifer Fox, Devan Harris, Matthew Lucas, Sarah Maloy, Haley Maynor, and George Napier scored 3000+ on their GED examinations. Thirty-one also earned Career Readiness Certificates.
Each member of the graduating received a voucher for free tuition for one three-credit hour class at the college to encourage them to continue their education.
Rosa and Daniel Cornejo, of Harnett County, celebrated a double milestone at the graduation. Both received their GED diplomas. Rosa had dropped out of high school in 2003 and Daniel, in 2006. Daniel went through the Adult Education English as a second language program before enrolling to earn his GED. Now, both plan to continue their education at CCCC: Rosa, in the pre-nursing program and Daniel, in automotive technology.
Rosa said they came back to make a better life for their children and family and to set the example for their children to get an education.
Daniel added, “I say to anyone who didn’t complete high school: Don’t give up. If I did it, anyone can do it.”