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25 students attend ceremony


Staff Writer

Though they all had different reasons for being there, 25 adults all officially saw their hard work rewarded Wednesday evening at the Calvert County Public Schools 18th annual Adult Education Graduation Ceremony.

The ceremony was held at Huntingtown High School.

CCPS Adult Education Coordinator Marjorie Zimmermann explained that the students could get their diplomas by either passing the GED exam or completing an external diploma program offered by the school system.

She recognized graduates Chanel Frederick and Samantha Morgart for having particularily outstanding performance on the GED.

Graduates Pamela Barker, Jennifer Hogan, Sherrita Mackall, Dorothy White, Wayne Jordan Sr., Mandel M. Way and Frederick were also recognized for participating in a soft launch of a new computer-based external diploma program that will officially be launched by CCPS in January 2013.

The evening’s two graduate speakers were Way and Brittany Nebel-Sturgess.

Nebel-Sturgess explained that she was actually supposed to be in the class of 2013 but chose to speed up completing her studies after giving birth to her daughter while in high school.

“I kept the words ‘never give up — failure is not an option’ in the back of my mind,” she said, continuing that by the time her former classmates graduate, she will have already started studying nursing at College of Southern Maryland.

“It will be a bittersweet feeling,” Nebel-Sturgess said, also telling her fellow graduates to remember that “none of us would be here if it were not for the support of our friends and family.”

Way spoke about skipping class and eventually dropping out of high school because “it seemed like the cool thing to do.”

He said he learned otherwise after losing a job when his employers found out he didn’t have his high school diploma.

Way said he almost quit the adult education program after being hurt in a motorcycle accident, but his teachers talked him into staying.

“Tonight, I’d encourage anyone who doesn’t have a high school diploma to seek the adult education program because if I can do it, anyone can do it,” Way said.

The other speakers at the ceremony included CCPS Superintendent Jack Smith; Adult Education Specialist Helen Coupe with the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation; and CSM Prince Frederick Vice President and Dean Richard Fleming.

Both Coupe and Fleming encouraged the graduates to consider taking their education even further.

Coupe said 77 percent of jobs coming into Maryland in the next two years will require at least two years of education beyond a high school diploma.

“In realizing your goal, you probably discovered new strengths and abilities,” she told the graduates.

Fleming echoed this point, telling the graduates that while they’ve earned the right to relax, the next step should be in the back of their minds.

“The problem right now is not always a lack of jobs, but a lack of people with the skills that employers need,” he said. “... When you’re ready, College of Southern Maryland is there.”

Smith told the graduates to think of their lives like a map.

“Tonight is on the map of your life,” he told them. “It’s significant and it matters.”