a group of graduates
(Back, left to right ) Damyon Ambrose, Kaitlyn McRoy, Connor Apoian, Jesse Williams Jr., DeAndrea Jenkins, Logun Peed, Ka-Tira Lewis Grimsley, and Mae Cota. (Front, left to right) Jaden Hooten, Joanna Schroeder, Aleyna Phillips, Rowan Reason, Kaylee Haddock, Lakisha Peartree, Raeven Vest, Earl Foster, and Rosanna Irineo. Not pictured: Julie Fulford and Ruhkaitlyn Wilson.

GED Students Celebrate Their Own Story at Graduation

Nineteen students participated in a graduation ceremony to receive their GED or high school equivalency (HSE) diplomas from Beaufort County Community College on June 27. Overall, the program saw 54 students earn their high school equivalency, either by taking the GED or HiSet exam, including students at Hyde Correctional Institution and Tyrrell Prison Work Farm.

Daymon Ambrose, Connor Apoian, Mae Cota, Earl Foster, Julie Fulford, Ka-Tira Lewis Grimsley, Kaylee Haddock, Jaden Hooten, Rosanna Irineo, DeAndrea Jenkins, Kaitlyn McRoy, Lakisha Peartree, Logun Peed, Aleyna Phillips, Rowan Reason, Joanna Schroeder, Jesse Williams Jr., and Ruhkaitlyn Wilson received their diplomas at the ceremony. Students in the high school equivalency program work at their own pace with the guidance of an instructor. The program provides a second chance to adults who did not complete high school traditionally.

The celebration also featured nine students who were inducted into the National Adult Education Honor Society, including Cody Beach, Geovina Brown, Ronald Dobson, Rosanna Irineo, Rowan Reason, Betty Shepard, Ruhkaitlyn Wilson, Jordan Winstead, and Angelica Womacks.

Graduates Jaden Hooten, Rosanna Irineo, DeAndrea Jenkins, Rowan Wilson, Jesse Williams Jr., and Ruhkaitlyn Wilson received $500 scholarships from the BCCC Foundation to put toward additional courses through the Division of Continuing Education or college level courses as part of an associate degree program.

Instructor Crystal Miller earned the EVE Ide Instructor of the Year Award. She is expanding the College and Career Readiness department’s scope with the new Beaufort Digital Bridge, providing skills and confidence to students through training in online job searches, email, social media, and essential workplace software.

Keynote speaker and graduate Jaden Hooten took the stage to share reflections and encouragement with the group. Hooten was denied a traditional education and kept at home. He begged his parents to enroll him a public school, but they refused, so he left home and came to the college to earn a high school equivalency.

“This is the story that I have to tell, although it’s not typical, it’s mine,” he said. “Not everyone has a story about the teacher that kept telling them to push forward in tough times, but we have something special. We have something that they don’t. We have the story to tell that in the face of adversity, we not only did it, but we triumphed. That we were able to succeed in the face of that adversity. That we can give hope to those that share experiences like ours. I don’t know your story, but I know that in the face of adversity, we made it through, and that gives me hope for all of you in this room, those in the future, that they have hope as well.”

The program combines classroom skills with workplace skills. Students can take Digital Literacy classes to help build their confidence with skills such as email and technology-based job searches. This fall they will have a chance to take classes in manufacturing or healthcare.

Students in an HSE class work at different paces to prepare for testing in different academic areas. If they test out of an area, they can move on. BCCC offers free high school equivalency classes in person on its main campus in Washington on Monday-Thursday mornings and in the evenings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and at the Hyde Davis Center on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

The college also offers free English language acquisition classes (ELA) for new English speakers. Beginning classes are offered Monday and Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings, and advanced classes are offered on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The college now offers bilingual GED classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

For information about English language acquisition or high school equivalency, call 252-940-6325.