May 18, 2024

Adult Students Graduate, Expand Horizons

Graduates of the College of Southern Maryland Adult Education program get ready for their ceremony at the Prince Frederick Campus.

The possibilities are endless in the New Year for more than 50 adult students who recently graduated from the College of Southern Maryland‘s Adult Education Program with their Maryland high school diplomas.

The Southern Maryland residents who represent a large span in age and life experiences all achieved the same academic milestone in the fall semester – and several even donned caps and gowns to cross the stage to “Pomp and Circumstance,” and applause, for their long-awaited graduation ceremonies.

Participants about to receive their high school diplomas through the CSM Adult Education Program at the graduation ceremonies in St. Mary’s County.

“For many of you, this is the moment you have dreamed for, and on behalf of the college’s dedicated team and Adult Education staff, we are delighted to help make your dreams become your reality,” said CSM President Dr. Maureen Murphy during the graduation ceremony held at the college’s Prince Frederick Campus. “We are proud of each and every one of you for your persistence and success in earning this diploma. It comes with all the rights and privileges that go along with it. And now, you are ready for your next challenge, whether it’s post-secondary education or a career.”

“Two paths allow one to walk across the stage tonight – the passing of the GED (General Educational Development) test and completing the National External Diploma Program (NEDP). Both culminate in earning a Maryland high school diploma,” said Ellen N. Beattie, adult instructional services chief with the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. “Within every celebrated ending, a new opportunity beckons. Allow this accomplishment to drive you forward. This is the first step in your new journey. Know that there is no straight line from where you are sitting today to where you are going. You may detour from your plan; you may get it wrong; you may miss big opportunities. Careers are less like ladders and more like jungle gyms. But from every experience you’ll learn.”

Mark Cooksey, 50, of Waldorf served as the student guest speaker at the ceremony.

“We all have accomplished something special here and I would like to congratulate the entire class,” Mr. Cooksey said. “Even though I had my dream job, I was done with all of the hiding and lies. I made my mind up I was going back to get my high school diploma. I was tired of my education being my Achilles heel and holding me back.”

Student guest speaker and graduate Roxanna Orellana shared her compelling story at the Leonardtown Campus ceremony, telling the audience of making her way from El Salvador to earn her high school diploma in the US through CSM.

“Here I am today, beginning a new chapter that will define the rest of my life,” Ms. Orellana told her graduating class, quoting the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in his speech, “I have a dream.”

“Those words of inspiration and full of hope resonated all the way to a small village in the mountains of El Salvador,” she said. “In that village, with fewer opportunities and full of broken dreams, a small girl was born. She grew up dreaming big ideas and the hope for a better future. Ideas that one day she would return to inspire other generations living under the wonder of fairy tales. In spite of all odds, here I am; the first member of my immediate family to earn a high school diploma, and perhaps, the only one with a high probability to attend college.”

All of the students learned at their graduations that the CSM Foundation, for the second year in a row, will provide them with a scholarship to continue their education at CSM. The CSM Foundation provides the funds through the Adult Education Scholarship, recognizing and congratulating the students for their hard work.

“Helping our Adult Education graduates in their next steps here at the Prince Frederick Campus is something we do really well,” Dr. Murphy shared at the Calvert County ceremony before announcing the recipient of the Dr. Rich Fleming Scholarship. Fleming was the previous vice president and dean of the Prince Frederick Campus and was there to award diploma recipient Lisa Beruti with her scholarship.

Receiving high school diplomas through the CSM Adult Education Program in 2018, and participating in the graduation ceremonies in Calvert County were:

Dominic Joseph Aragon, Lisa Beruti, Mark Alan Cooksey, Melissa Gail Edwards, Riley Lynn Evans, Naquan E. Freeland, Nora M. Gause, Ernest M. Hensley, Jennifer R Layman, David E. Layman Jr., Albert Nathaniel Peyton, Rosetta Lucille Young, and Zhi Fang Zheng.

Receiving high school diplomas through the CSM Adult Education Program in 2018, and participating in the graduation ceremonies in St. Mary’s County were:

Tavia Love Ayers, Loriana Fayne Baker, Kimberly J. Biscoe, Patrick Sinclair Doss, Gabriel Annette Harris, Jason Anthony Hoover, Shelby Lynne Martin, Cheyenne Brandy Shaye McQarrie, Kiara Moses, Maria Nunez, Douglas Oliver, Roxana Orellana, David Alexander Paolillo, Ashley Monique Proctor, Andrew Lee Spendolini, Tyler Evan Stauffer, Joseph F. Sullivan, Adam Swope, Matteo Roberto Torres, Calvin Nelson Washington, Kyle L. Wedding, and Pamela Kaye Zimmerman.

For more about the College of Southern Maryland, visit its Leader member page.

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