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HCC Honors More Than 120 Students For Earning a Maryland High School Diploma

2017 adult class earning their high school diplomas

Howard Community College (HCC) celebrated more than 120 students Saturday for earning a Maryland high school diploma over the past year as part of the college’s Adult Basic Skills program. The event marked the 33rd annual recognition ceremony at HCC.

“After 48 years since finishing the ninth grade, I wasn’t sure how well I was going to do,” said student speaker Joyce White, who passed the GED exam at age 64. “I gave myself a year to finish my high school diploma, but I only needed six months.”

White, who dropped out of high school when she became pregnant, is a government retiree who decided to complete her high school diploma after spending a few years traveling and working temp jobs. She plans to begin the accounting associates degree program at HCC in January 2018.

White was joined by student speaker Idalia Ortiz, who shared her perspective on how the Adult Basic Skills program has helped her transform her life. The ceremony also included greetings from Ramona Kunkel from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation and Dr. Jean Svacina, vice president of academic affairs, as well as welcome remarks from Minah Woo, acting associate vice president of continuing education and workforce development.

“Howard Community College’s mission is ‘providing pathways to success,’” said Dr. Svacina. “The students celebrating their diplomas this afternoon are success stories of the college’s commitment to fulfilling that mission.”

Community members representing the Howard County Office of Workforce Development and the Howard County Library were also in attendance. Kevin Doyle, member of HCC’s Board of Trustees, assisted in awarding the certificates.

According to the Maryland Association for Adult Community and Continuing Education, 5,320 adults in Howard County lack a high school diploma; 4,544 adults over the age of 25 in Howard County have less than a 9th grade education; and 10% of young adults from ages 18-24 in Howard County do not have a high school diploma.

The Adult Basic Skills program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education and Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation and provided through the Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development, provides two opportunities to earn high school diplomas: General Education Development (GED) exam preparation and the National External Diploma Program. In addition to providing pathways to high school completion, the Adult Basic Skills program offers language arts and math classes for students interested in improving skills for work and college.

For more information about the Adult Basic Skills program, call 443-518-4919.

Topics: Success Stories
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