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HCC Honors More Than 140 Students For Earning a Maryland High School Diploma

Graduates of the Adult Basic Skills program.

Howard Community College (HCC) celebrated more than 140 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 34rd annual recognition ceremony at HCC.

“It took me 10 years off and on and it has not been an easy road, especially while raising three small children by myself and dealing with some negative influences in my life,” said student speaker Philly Peterson, who is now pursuing her associates degree in forensic science at HCC. “The last four years of this journey, I came to Howard Community College. My teachers were all very helpful and encouraged me.”

Peterson is taking advantage of HCC’s support services, including academic advising, tutoring and Career Links. She has also determined where she will transfer to continue her studies in forensic science after attending a transfer fair on campus. Peterson’s strong commitment to learning was recognized by the Maryland Association of Adult, Community and Continuing Education (MAACCE) last May during the organization’s annual conference where she received an Outstanding Student Award for inspiring classmates regularly while enrolled in the Adult Basic Skills program at HCC.

The ceremony also included greetings from Dr. Ellen Beattie, chief of Adult Instructional Services for the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, and Dr. Kathleen Hetherington, president of Howard Community College, as well as welcome remarks from Jean Svacina, vice president of academic affairs.

“The students celebrating their diplomas today reflect the diversity of our institution and our county,’” said Dr. Hetherington. “Some have faced adversity and tragedy and still found the courage and determination to come back to school. Others left their homeland for the promise of a better life for their family in the United States. Each has a story and HCC will forever be a part of it.”

Community members representing the Howard County Office of Workforce Development and the Howard County Library were also in attendance. Kevin Doyle and Mamie Perkins, members 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, 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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