To the time-honored graduation "Processional," 22 GED students marched into the Betty J. Roper Auditorium, at Wright Denny Intermediate School, on Monday, June 3, at 7 p.m. to receive their diplomas. One member of the Class of 2013, Daniel Zappia, was absent from the ceremony because he was out of the country.
Wearing their maroon gowns and hats, the following graduates took their seats in the front row of the auditorium, waiting for the program to begin; James Bennett, Shain Breeden, Thomas Cook, Stacey Hibbitts, Aaron Himes, Thomas Langley, Catherine Lightner, Andrew Palmer, Brittany Palmer, Leon Raney, Justin Richards, Keith Pierson, Jessica Rexrode, Tanner Russell, Judith Sanchez, Kenneth Shellenberger, Nathan Snyder, Shirley White, Amber Williams, Matthew Wilson, Nitiki Wilson and Jessica Yazbek.
Superintendent of Schools, Susan K. Wall, welcomed the class, told them how proud the school system was of their achievement, and led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Martin Solits, coordinator of Career Adult and Community Education, introduced the guests and then congratulated the graduates for earning their GED. He reminded the group that some very famous people had begun their education by earning their GED credentials: Bill Cosby, Christian Slater, Nicholas
Cage, Angelina Jolie, Chris Rock, Dave Thomas (founder of Wendy's Restaurants), Ruth Ann Minner (Governor of Delaware), Mary Lou Retton (from West Virginia and an Olympic gymnast) Waylon Jennings, Jerry Garcia of the "Grateful Dead," Pink, Eminem, and Michael J. Fox. As he said, "That's good company."
"One thing all of these famous people have in common is that they did not stop achieving after they received their GED. They went on to excel in their chosen careers. That is not to say that each of you will become famous, but it does say that each of you has that opportunity. Don't make this the end; make it the beginning. The sky's the limit. Dream big! " continued Soltis.
Echoing the same theme of pursuing further education were Jefferson County School Board members, Mark Osbourn and Larry Togans. Both encouraged the graduates to continue their education.
Frank Houston, ABE Instructor, introduced Beth Rehberger, an ESL instructor, who then introduced one of the graduates, Enedelia Judith Sanchez, from Mexico, who has been in this country for 12 years. She came here well-educated, but because she didn't speak fluent English was unable to secure employment. She explained that with her GED, she can now apply for the job she wants.
Husband and wife, Matthew Wilson and Nikita Wilson, also testified as to the importance and significance of achieving their GED.
Diplomas were presented by Susan K Wall (Superintendent of Schools), Larry Togans and Mark Osbourn (Board of Education members).
Following the recessional, the graduates, their families and friends were treated to a reception, planned by Monica Zeigler, Lori Soltis and Ellen Houston, in the school's cafeteria.