HANCEVILLE, Ala. – It was nearly impossible to wipe the smile and exuberance off Marty Harris’s face during Wallace State’s Adult Education Commencement this week.
“I quit high school during my tenth-grade year and now look at me. I’m 44 years old and have earned this GED,” Harris said. “I’m here to tell you it’s never too late to go back and finish something. It took me longer than it should, but I’m glad I have it.”
Wallace State’s Adult Education Department had 98 students earn their GED (general education development) during the 2018-2019 academic year, including 30 graduates who participated in this week’s commencement exercises at the James C. Bailey Center auditorium.
“I want to say congratulations because you didn’t give up. Life got interrupted for a while, didn’t it? Life happens to all of us. You demonstrated your tenacity and didn’t give up on a dream that was deferred for whatever reason,” said Wallace State President Dr. Vicki Karolewics. “Because of that, you have a future in front of you that is so bright. It’s limited only by the limitations you place upon yourself. Don’t ever allow anyone else to put a lid on your capabilities or what you can achieve.”
Wallace State Adult Education Director Cynthia Arrington kicked off the graduation ceremony by congratulating the students and recognizing the program’s instructors.
“This is your celebration and just the beginning. All who are graduating have worked hard, and tonight you get you to celebrate that accomplishment,” Arrington said.
Grace Potter and Loretta Wood, both former Wallace State GED graduates and counselors at The Bridge through the Cullman Outpatient program, served as this year’s guest speakers.
Both women discussed the multiple career paths available to them after earning their GED’s.
“This GED is not the end. It’s the beginning of your life and the career or careers you choose. Knowledge is everything. It helps you become a better person in life, and it helps you to be a great social change agent in your community,” Potter said. “Anything you accomplish after this is because of your GED. Don’t ever stop learning.”
Added Wood: “Earning my GED put me on the road to success. You have the opportunity to be anything you want to be. The only thing that can hold you back is yourself. My fears held me back for too long. You have to step out there, have faith and believe in yourself. I congratulate you for not giving up.”
Jimmy Hodges, Wallace State’s Dean of Applied Technologies, addressed the crowd next and commended the graduates for their persistence and accomplishments and encouraged them to pursue a college education.
Nine graduates received scholarships at the ceremony.
Lora Bowman and Haley Nicole Smith-Wiley were each recipients of the Hope House scholarship, and Hannah Huffstutler earned the Oden Family scholarship.
Earning scholarships through the Adult Education Department and Wallace State’s Future Foundation were Kimberly Aderhold, Mallory Golden, Jade Brooke Bryant, Jace Goodwin and Xiaoli Young.
Each Adult Education graduate received a three-credit hour scholarship to Wallace State, giving them the opportunity to get started on their college career with a free college course.
Wallace State’s Adult Education’s instructors and staff serve hundreds of students each year, spanning multiple sites across Blount, Cullman, Morgan and Winston Counties, including the Cullman County Detention, Alabama Career Center, Eva Town Hall, The Foundry, Lynn High School, the Hope House, Main Street Ministries, Meek High School, Jimmy Hale Mission, Teen Challenge, The Link of Cullman County, Tyson Foods and both of the college’s campuses.
For more information about the Adult Education program, contact 256-352-8078 or 256-352-8077.
For more information about Wallace State, visit www.wallacestate.edu.
View pictures from the graduation here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wallacestate/albums/72157708839579948