CCCC adult high school-GED graduates celebrate reaching goal
Members of the Spring 2012 graduating class of Central Carolina Community College's Adult High School ... (more)
Central Carolina Community College President Bud Marchant (left) congratulates Herbert Taylor, of Lee ... (more)
LaKuan McKoy (second from left), of Lee County, receives big hugs and congratulations from (from left) ... (more)
Rachel Umberger (right), of Chatham County, receives her GED diploma from Central Carolina Community ... (more)
Rachel Umberger (left) gets a congratulatory hug from her mother, Denise Umberger, following Central ... (more)
Central Carolina Community College President Bud Marchant (left) congratulates Manuel Barillas, of ... (more)
SANFORD - "Don't give up on your dreams" - that was the loud and clear message delivered by graduates at Central Carolina Community College's Adult High School-GED Commencement Exercises Thursday, June 14.
The graduation filled the main hall of the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center with more than 1,000 family and friends of the graduating class. They cheered and applauded loudly as members of the class spoke and then, even more loudly when their special graduate crossed the stage to receive his or her diploma.
Student speakers for the graduation, Herbert Taylor, of Lee County; Rachel Umberger, of Chatham County; and Manuel Barillas, of Harnett County, shared their stories of working to achieve their goals. The stories resonated with their fellow graduates, who also had struggled in many ways to overcome obstacles and earn their diplomas.
"At 16, I thought I knew it all and dropped out of school," Taylor told the audience and his classmates. After starting and stopping studies to earn a General Educational Development (GED) diploma, he had finally, at age 40, achieved his goal. He thanked his teachers and family, who had supported and helped him in reaching it.
"Never give up on your dreams," he told the graduating class. "Put your trust in God and remember: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."
Umberger's family lived in Honduras for a while and she was home-schooled. When the family returned, she enrolled in CCCC's College and Career Readiness Department's GED program. To earn her diploma, she had to pass five difficult required examinations. She had to take the mathematics one three times, but finally succeeded. Now, she plans to continue her education, starting with a photography class at CCCC.
Umberger followed in her sister Anna's footsteps. Anna, who had also lived in Honduras, earned her GED and was a student speaker at the AHS-GED graduation in January.
Barillas emigrated from El Salvador in 1980. He had no high school education, but he worked hard and lived the American dream. He worked in farming, painting and carpentry and now owns his own business, Barillas Paint Co., in Dunn. He became a U.S. citizen in 2006.
"It feels great," the gray-haired graduate said. "I say to those who want their education, don't give up. If you get discouraged, keep going."
Eighteen of the graduates wore gold honor stoles, indicating they had excelled academically in their studies. Forty-two also earned a Career Readiness Certificate. Phyllis Huff, CCCC dean of Continuing Education, said this nationally recognized certificate shows that those who received it possess basic workforce skills in reading, math, and information location that employers want their employees to have.
"The CRC multiplies the opportunities for these graduates," she said.
CCCC President Bud Marchant and Executive Vice President of Instruction/CAO Lisa Chapman presented scholarships to several students. Anthony Prince received the W.B. Wicker Scholarship and Briana Merritt received the Everette T. Hickman Scholarship. CCCC Foundation scholarships went to Virginia Nava, of Chatham County; Latoya Yvette Mitchell, of Harnett County; and Virginia Watson, of Lee County. Each graduate in attendance received a Tuition Scholarship Voucher for one continuing education or one three-credit hour curriculum course at CCCC.
LaKeisha Taylor, of Harnett County, had the honor of bearing the college mace and heading the procession of college administrators, faculty and graduates. She had dropped out of school as a teenager to care for her ailing father, but enrolled in the GED program at age 21. She stopped and restarted several times. Her determination to reach her goal kept her coming back.
"I say to those who are struggling to get their education: Don't give up," she said. "Continue to go for it, it will pay off. One reason I kept going was to let my daughters know that they can do it. You put your mind to it and do it."
Following the ceremony, LaKuan McKoy, of Lee County, received big hugs from his family for earning his Adult High School diploma.
"It feels good," he said, and then added with a big smile, "It's a new step to a brighter future!"
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