By Whitney Leggett
CV&T Summer Intern
Friends, family and Estill County officials gathered in the Estill County Middle School gymnasium Friday evening in celebration and in honor of the 2009-2010 Estill County Adult Learning Center graduating class.
Test Administrator Nancy Farmer played the piano for the recessional as Mary Fields Skipper and the staff of Adult Learning Center prepared to bid farewell and congratulations to 51 adults who received their GEDs.
Skipper thanked the friends and family in the audience for their support and encouragement of the graduates. Skipper said the the key to the success of the Adult Ed. program is team work and took a moment to thank each member of the staff for their contributions. She then thanked the many organizations in the community that donate to the program. Currently the GED exam costs $50 per student. Next year the exam fee will be $55. The Estill County Fair Board and the Kiwanis Club donated to help pay the fees.
“The staff at the Adult Learning Center is wonderful,” Skipper said. “And we have such good support from the community.”
Skipper then addressed the graduates saying, “I believe that attitude determines altitude. You may not have the highest score or be the best scientist but you must have a good attitude.”
Skipper introduced County Judge Executive Wallace Taylor who was asked to address the graduates. Taylor spoke directly to graduates, one of which was his son, Chandler, and offered a few words of encouragement, congratulations and hope.
“There were times when you thought you couldn’t do it,” Taylor said. “But you refused to give up. The sky is the limit. With hard work and dedication you can do anything.”
Taylor shared a poem by Dr. Suess that he thought summed his address up well. He read, “Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to great places. You’re off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
Taylor asked the graduates to remember that a diploma does not mean that life will be easy. There will be obstacles.
“But, there’s nothing you can’t handle,” he said. “Because you’ve proved you have the qualities to do great things.”
Skipper then opened the presentation of the awards with a description of the benefits that a diploma will offer the graduates.
“The result is a wider variety of choices in life,” she said. “With these diplomas you can choose better employment, higher education and you can take pride in your success.”
Skipper presented awards to the students that received the highest scores in the four testing categories. The Social Studies award went to Randy Smyth. Kellie Knopp received the reading award. The writing award was presented to Ashley Culton, Science to Daniel Ramey and Math to Georgette Toliver. Two students were congratulated for earning the highest overall scores on the exam. They were Jeramy Thomas and Chrissy Davidson.
The graduates were then presented their certificates by O’Brene Richardson, Judge Taylor, Tom Bonny, Skipper, Patti Reese, Carmy Jordan, Donald Norton, and Rebecca Lee.
Tom Bonny closed the ceremony by thanking the family and friends for their encouragement and challenged the graduates to encourage others.
“You now know how important an education is,” he said. “Set an example for your children and others that you know.”
Those attending were invited to share in refreshments after the ceremony.