Monday, June 14, 2010

Additional comments from the Athens County ABLE program graduation ceremony

The Athens County Adult Basic Literacy and Education (ABLE) program at The Work Station held its annual GED graduation ceremony on Friday, June 4 at Chauncey Elementary School. Several of the graduates talked after the ceremony about how the program has helped them and about what their plans are now.

Michelle Strong, 19, of Nelsonville, was not able to graduate from her high school because of a problem with her credit hours, so she enrolled in the GED program to finish. She earned her GED in 2009, the same year that she would have graduated from high school, and enjoyed working with the teachers and other students in the GED program.

“I thought it was really awesome,” Strong said. She plans to continue her education in college and may study early childhood education.

David Riddle, 21, of Grove City, was just a few credits short of graduating from high school when he dropped out so that he could work and earn money for his family. He and his wife and son moved to southern Ohio for a time, and Riddle tried to get by without going back to school and getting his degree.

“I just lacked the motivation,” he said. Being a father has made him more responsible, and he knew that he needed to go back to school and earn his GED so that he would be able to get better jobs and be better able to support his family. “I think it will open a lot of doors for me,” he said.

Cristy James, 53, of Nelsonville, decided to earn her GED in order to improve her job prospects. She plans to now continue her education at the Tri-County Career Center. James was originally nervous about going back to school, but she knew it was important that she earn her GED.

“It was hard,” she said about first going back. The staff at The Work Station helped her a great deal, and she enjoyed the GED program. “I liked it. It really helped me,” James said.

Shandi Kincaid, 21, of Bainbridge also decided to earn her GED in order to improve her job opportunities.

“I need a better job and no one will hire me without an education,” Kincaid said. She hopes to eventually work in human resources management, and is thankful for all of the assistance she received from the ABLE program.

“It was a really good program,” Kincaid said. “They really helped me a lot.” After the ceremony, the graduates and their family members and friends were treated to dinner and a performance by the Back Porch Swing Band. Also, local musician Bob Montalto played the piano before and during the graduation ceremony.

Click here for more photos from the ceremony.