Published on July 3rd, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff0
District Five holds graduation ceremony for adult education students
Adult Education graduates (left to right) Shanice Rush, Kimberly Robbins, Joshua Robbins (Kimberly’s husband), Zachary Dennis and Kelsey Busch wait in the wings for their graduation ceremony to begin
IRMO – Hundreds attended a June graduation ceremony for students in Lexington-Richland School District Five’s Adult Education Program.
More than 20 students participated in the event at Irmo High School’s Center for the Arts on June 25, providing a snapshot of the total 73 students who completed high school through the district’s adult education program this school year.
“We had a successful year, despite a sharp decline in adult education enrollments nationwide,” said Dr. Kathie Greer, director of District Five’s Adult and Community Education Program. “Some contributing factors to our success are the flexibility and support our program offers, the real-world experiences that have demonstrated the value of a high school credential to our students, and the selflessness with which our program instructors and staff approach the work they do each day. We congratulate our class of 2015 and look forward to offering this important service to the community for years to come.”
During the 2014-15 school year, 31 students earned high school diplomas, 42 obtained GEDs, and three earned paraprofessional certificates. District Five 2014-15 adult education graduates also included 29 earning new jobs since completing the program, 15 admitted into colleges and 10 students inducted into the National Adult Education Honor Society.
District Five has offered an adult education program for more than 30 years. The program provides several services including: literacy assistance, ESL (English as a second language) programs, high school equivalency diplomas, WorkKeys/Career Readiness Certification, state high school diplomas, college and military entrance exam preparation, paraprofessional certification, and computer literacy training. The program is an official test center for the high school equivalency, paraprofessional, and technical college entrance exams; and this year the district’s adult education program was approved as a GI Bill educational services provider.
At the recent graduation ceremony, students and their supporters spoke about the importance of what the graduates had accomplished.
“Some people don’t make it out the first time around… but if you work hard and keep on moving forward, anything is possible,” said Anthony Barnes, a 2014 District Five Adult Education Program graduate who served as the keynote speaker for the June 25 event. “Take pride in what you’ve accomplished here today adult ed grads. Be happy. Celebrate with your family. And use today as the motivation to shoot for the stars tomorrow.”
Graduate Courtney Fleming said, “It was tough for me to start…now I’m relieved to be done and excited to start my next step in life. I would tell other adults wanting to go back to school that the hardest part is getting started, but it’s definitely worth it in the end.”
The program served approximately 347 students at five program sites during the 2014-15 school year. More than 65 people this term earned WorkKeys certifications, a job skills assessment and development system. Thirty-five families were served by the program’s literacy initiative, which co-led a statewide writing project. One hundred twenty-seven students earned recognition for significant academic gains as measured by the federal reporting service that evaluates adult education programs.
Adult Education Transition Specialist Mary Hugee said the district’s program continues to change and evolve to fit the needs of its students. Graduation is a time to celebrate both what the program offers and what students are able to achieve, she added.
“For many of our students graduation is something that’s been a long time coming – the result of overcoming a lot of obstacles and of their determination and hard work,” Hugee said. “District Five’s Adult Education program specializes in providing second chances. Today, these graduates have given themselves a second chance at pursuing careers and making their lives and their families’ lives better.”