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

Diploma Recognition Ceremony 2019

Howard Community College (HCC) recently celebrated more than 120 students for earning their Maryland high school diplomas over the past year as part of the college’s Adult Basic Skills program. The event, held November 2, 2019, marked the 35th annual recognition ceremony at HCC.

“Life is not a race with mile markers,” said student speaker Claudia Cordero, who plans to pursue her associate degree in business at HCC. “You need to create your own goals at your own pace. No matter if you’re a single parent, an immigrant or whatever situation you’re in – you can overcome whatever obstacle comes your way.”

One of Cordero’s biggest challenges was taking the first step to pursue her dreams. She already worked full time, and found her motivation in making her parents proud, getting a better job, and making more money. After attending GED classes for one semester, she passed all four GED tests on the first try.

“Coming to my GED classes with people pursuing the same goal as me made me feel so much better. Knowing that there were others out there like me, who had struggled in their own ways, motivated me to push even harder to obtain my diploma,” she said. “My advice to other people trying to achieve whatever goal they’re after is to define your why. Remember your why when you want to quit is the only thing to keep you motivated throughout hard times.”

The ceremony also included greetings from Dr. Ellen Beattie, chief of adult instructional services for the Maryland Department of Labor, and welcome remarks from Dr. Kathleen Hetherington, president of Howard Community College.

“Howard Community College’s mission is ‘providing pathways to success,’ said Dr. Hetherington. “The students celebrating their diplomas this afternoon are success stories of the college’s commitment to fulfilling that mission. Each year, we have the great pleasure of seeing many of the students in this program continue their education by enrolling at HCC to attain their associate degree.”

Community members representing the Maryland Department of Labor, Howard County Office of Workforce Development, and the Howard County Library System were also in attendance.

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

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

Topics: Success Stories
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