HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Like his fellow GED (general education development) completers, Josh Chadwick is prepared for the next chapter in his life after recently being recognized at the 2017 Wallace State Adult Education Department graduation.
“This is a big accomplishment for me and an important one. It’s a step I should have taken years ago, but now it’s on to the next step,” said Chadwick, 37. “I’m looking into learning more about the information technology field and see where that leads.”
Wallace State’s Adult Education Department had 56 GED graduates this year, including 14 to complete the new non-traditional high school diploma option.
Overall, Wallace State Adult Education instructors and staff served 600 students during the 2016-17 academic year at 15 sites, spanning Blount, Cullman, Morgan and Winston Counties.
The newest graduates received their GED diplomas at the commencement at the Betty Leeth Haynes Theatre.
Dr. Kelley Jones, Wallace State’s Adult Education Director, welcomed the graduates and their families at the outset of the ceremony.
“Graduates, once you walk across the stage your life is forever changed. You have made a huge commitment. You have stuck to something and finished it, and I commend you for that. I want you to use this opportunity to reflect on what it took to get here and to turn around and help someone else get here,” Jones said. “We are extremely proud of you and proud of what you are about to do. I expect to hear great and wonderful success stories about you as you move forward.”
As she does each year, Wallace State President Dr. Vicki Karolewics addressed the graduates, citing life struggles, including addiction and family priorities, as reasons some graduates didn’t complete high school.
“All sorts of things happen to defer our dreams. The important thing for you is you decided to make a change, and you started down the less traveled road and made your own journey. You have now achieved that dream,” Karolewics added. “This is just the beginning. That’s what commencement means. It’s commencing to do something new and different. Your future begins today.”
Nine graduates received scholarships at the ceremony, including Chadwick who was presented a $500 Wallace State Future Foundation scholarship for tuition and books in college.
Sara Barboza, 29, was among the GED graduates who decided to take advantage of the non-traditional high school diploma option through the Adult Education Department, which allows students who either dropped out of high school without earning the essential number of credits to graduate or who failed certain sections of the former Alabama High School Graduation Exam to complete their high school diploma.
Barboza, who lives in Blountsville and attended Susan Moore High School, jumped at the chance to pursue the non-traditional diploma option and completed the history portion within months. For her efforts, Barboza also earned a scholarship, receiving a Wallace State Future Foundation $500 scholarship for tuition and books.
“I’m so excited to have earned the scholarship and thankful the option was available for me to complete what I had been lacking. It’s been so worthwhile,” said Barboza, who moved to the United States from Mexico as an 11 year old without knowing any English. “I’ve come such a long way since from when I moved here. I tell as many people as I can about what Wallace State can do for you.”
Susan Morgan, 32, was once in the same boat as Barboza, needing to pass certain portions of the exit exam to graduate high school.
“It’s a blessing this option was offered and nice to know it’s done,” Morgan said.
Morgan was also a scholarship recipient, earning the Oden Family scholarship to be used for tuition and books in college.
Stephanie Porter and Letecia Minor each received renewable scholarships from Wallace State, Coleman Shivers received a WSCC Future Foundation scholarship for tuition and books and Devin Patterson was the recipient of the Career Tech scholarship.
Stephen Lowery and Star Sharpe each earned the Hope House scholarship.
Malcolm Carter, pastor at Temple Baptist Church, served as the keynote speaker, and Cullman County Circuit Judge Greg Nicholas was also a platform guest.
Each Wallace State Adult Ed graduate received a scholarship for one free community college class of their choice.
Wallace State Adult Education classes are taught on campus, online and at selected off-campus sites in Blount, Cullman, Morgan and Winston Counties. Off-campus sites include churches, community centers, correctional facilities and rehabilitation centers.
Contact 256.352.8078 to learn more about the program’s requirements.
For more information about Wallace State, visit www.wallacestate.edu.
Staff Writer, Communications and Marketing
Wallace State Community College
P.O. Box 2000, Hanceville, AL 35077
1-866-350-9722 256-352-8443 direct
Visit us online at www.wallacestate.edu
Communications & Marketing Director, and
Administrator, The Evelyn Burrow Museum
Wallace State Community College
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Office: 256.352.8118 | Cell: 256.339.2519 | Toll Free: 866.350.9722