Students complete GED requirements, receive diplomas at graduation Thursday

Published 5:48 pm Tuesday, May 19, 2015

By Susanne Reynolds

Special to The Post-Searchlight


Bainbridge State College’s Adult Education program held its 2015 GED Graduation on Thursday, May 14, at the Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center, honoring eight of the sixteen students participating in the graduation ceremony.

Since the GED test upgrade in January 2014, sixteen students from Decatur, Early, Miller and Seminole Counties have earned their high school diploma equivalency.  The new test is more rigorous; requiring a higher level of critical thinking and knowledge of mathematics.

The graduates along with BSC administration, instructors, staff, family and friends celebrated the accomplishment with a diploma ceremony.  Debbie McIntyre, Director of Adult Education, welcomed the graduates and the audience.

She said “This is a huge accomplishment on the part of the graduates and the people that supported them through their journey to where they stand today.”

Nastassia Cheeks of Bainbridge, the first of the student speakers, addressed her fellow graduates and spoke about determination. She related her experience to the class.

“It took me four tries to pass the Math portion of the GED test, but with the help of teachers and support from my family, I was able to reach my goaI,” she said.

She will begin furthering her education by taking classes at Bainbridge State College during the fall semester.

Emily Cunningham of Jakin also spoke to the class about her experience of achieving her goal. She began by dedicated the evening to her boyfriend, who recently passed away after a long battle with cancer.

She said, “He was my source of inspiration, living life to the fullest and never taking a day for granted.”

Cunningham was diagnosed at the age of 14 with a rare genetic disease, which has no cure and she missed too many days of school. This prevented her from being able to graduate high school, even though she passed all the graduation test requirements.

“My challenge to you is to be the change you want to see in the world and don’t let anyone hold you back,” Cunningham concluded.

Her goal is to become a pediatric nurse and help kids the way her nurses have helped her through her journey.  Cunningham’s message to the audience was to demonstrate education is an amazing thing.

Dr. Rodney Carr, Vice-President of Student Affairs, was the keynote speaker for the evening.  He shared the struggles he experienced while in college, and appreciated the enormous effort each student met to be at graduation.

“We never doubted your ability to accomplish this goal. There are instructors here who never doubted you,” said Carr. “And now, the goal has been reached. Isn’t that a great feeling? I want to tell you that you need to celebrate today by placing a milestone marker in the ground saying this is where it all started—and where you learned you can do whatever goal you set for yourself. Congratulations on meeting this goal—may it be the first of many. Not everyone who set out to do what you did meets that goal, but you did.”

Dr. Richard Carvajal, President of BSC, presented each graduate with a certificate of completion.

Decatur County Certified Literate Community Program hosted a reception following the ceremony.

The graduates from Decatur County are Nastassia Cheeks, Emily Cunningham, Deandre Gadson, Aaron Horne, Shymiracle Reid and Stephen Starr.  Miller County graduates are Desiree Hascue and Brett Scott.