Challenges overcome. Certificate in hand. It’s time to celebrate.
Family and faculty cheered for 25 students who earned GED diplomas from the Adult Learning Center (ALC) May 27.
“I really feel phenomenal,” Meredith Hansen said. “At first I was a little bit shocked that I had finished my GED tests. But once I found out what my mind was capable of, you can’t stop me now. I feel so fantastic.”
At Renaissance Academy’s auditorium, she walked down a red carpet and into the warm, festive applause of her family and friends who knew just how much effort it took to get her GED diploma.
“I was pegged as a problem kid and dropped out of high school my junior year,” Hansen said. She married and started a family but found that she could only progress so far in her sales job without further education. She knew there must be a better way than working long hours without a chance of advancement.
“I decided to go back to school,” she said.
It’s a story different for each graduate, but with the common thread of building strength through adversity. Hansen has already started taking classes at Tidewater Community College with plans to study political science at Old Dominion University and become a state delegate or pursue further education to become an environmental lawyer.
“I’m so proud, I can’t even tell you just how proud I am,” Hansen’s mother, Sharon Smith, said after the ceremony. “She realized just how smart she is, and now she’s in college!”
Like Hansen, Annalisa LaZar also started pursuing her GED certificate after finding that she could only advance so far in her work as an assistant property manager. And she, too, is enrolled at TCC.
She finished six papers in her college classes in the week leading up to the graduation ceremony. She could spare only a few hours of sleep while studying and working in property management. Now she’s taking classes at TCC and plans to expand her cake-decorating business.
“I’m pursuing dreams I had thought weren’t possible,” LaZar said
Balloons, sparkling decorations and lots of smiles surrounded LaZar and the other graduates, who arrived in 10-minute time slots to allow for social distancing.
Because of the pandemic, some students had more online learning than they originally expected, and others had to wait a year for the ceremony. But spirits weren’t dampened in the least by the various health precautions associated with the pandemic.
ALC teacher Georgette McGovern, who is retiring after 35 years with Virginia Beach City Public Schools, recognized each graduate by name as faculty members stood, applauded and lifted signs with slogans like, “You do it!.”
“It’s an honor to do this,” said McGovern, who taught for 30 years at the ALC. “Most of them here today have been students of mine in the past year or two. And the staff is so invested in helping the students succeed.”
For a list of all the GED certificate recipients, visit www.smore.com/4emzq.
A red carpet and other decorations added to the festive spirit as students celebrated earning their GED certificates from the Adult Learning Center. Faculty, staff and supporters organized the event.