MCCC GED Program Reaches Milestone Of 1,000 Graduates

GED 2016 Group: Sixty-one students graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s GED program on June 15, 2016. Included in this class is the program’s 1,000th graduate.  Photo by Sandi Yanisko

GED 2016 Group: Sixty-one students graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s GED program on June 15, 2016. Included in this class is the program’s 1,000th graduate. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Pottstown, PA — Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) General Education Diploma (GED) program reached a milestone during its annual graduation ceremony on June 15. Among the 61 individuals who earned their diplomas was the program’s 1,000th graduate.

Introduced in 2006, MCCC’s six-week GED program is among the most accelerated in the state. Students spend one week of intensive study in each GED subject—reading and language arts, science, social studies and math—then they take the respective test. The program alternates between day and evening classes every six weeks to accommodate as many students as possible.

The GED program and tests are free to Montgomery County residents, thanks to generous sponsorship from Montco Works, Montgomery County’s Workforce Investment Board. The program costs $100 for out-of-county students.

At least 20 of this year’s graduates are already enrolled in credit courses at MCCC. Graduate speaker Timothy Ream, of Schwenksville, is one of them.

“In the last nine months, I have accomplished more than I did in nine years,” Ream told the audience of graduates, family and friends during his remarks. “I’m currently taking summer classes at Montco, and I have a 3.5 GPA. I know it’s not a 4.0, but it’s better than the 0.6 GPA I left high school with.”

Following his emotion-filled speech, Ream surprised GED Program Coordinator Ed Sasek by presenting him with a plaque on behalf of the graduates.

“This man has dedicated his whole life to adult education,” shared Ream.

MCCC Assistant Professor of Geography Samuel Wallace provided the keynote address, during which he shared the story of his father, who earned his GED after surviving polio.

“My father never attended a year of school, not uncommon in a 1940s Kansas dustbowl,” he said. “After surviving polio, he realized he would never again make money with his legs and back. He got a GED and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in science and engineering.”

Wallace shared that his father wrote the first set of guidelines for federal highway maintenance.

“Your career is not the one you thought you would have when you were 16. A GED is one way to get a second strike at the ball. It’s your jumpstart,” he said.

Janet Rojas, youth research and performance coordinator for Montco Works, presented the graduates with their diplomas. She was joined by Dr. David DiMattio, vice president of the West Campus; Nicole Henderson, dean of student affairs; and Peggy Schmidt, chair of the Workforce Investment Board Youth Council.

In her closing remarks, Schmidt drew applause with a reference to ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” television show.

“You, tonight, have in your hands your own Mirrorball Trophy,” said Schmidt. “You are on the steps of an exciting future. So get out and DANCE!”

To learn more about the GED program or GED testing services, visit http://www.mc3.edu/adm-fin-aid/ged.

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45 Graduates Complete MCCC’s Accelerated GED Program

Pottstown, Pa.— Forty-five students earned their General Education Diplomas (GED) during Montgomery County Community College’s annual graduation ceremony on June 5 at the West Campus in Pottstown.

The graduates were part of MCCC’s rigorous five-week program that is among the most accelerated in the state. According to GED Program Coordinator/Instructor Raymond Ricketts, 860 students have completed the program since its inception in 2006–an 84 percent graduation rate.

The Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) funds the program, which is free to Montgomery County residents. The fee for out-of-county students is $100 and includes the course and GED exam.

John Vestri, vice president of operations and finance for Video Ray in Pottstown, provided the keynote address. He commended graduates for taking ownership of their education, and encouraged them to take advantage of all future educational opportunities that arise.

“Every single you chance you have to improve yourself through education, please take advantage of it. It will pay off in some way in the long run,” said Vestri. He added that there is “no such thing as a traditional education,” sharing “we all pursue what works for us; everyone is on some non-traditional path.”

Providing the student address, graduate Jamie Gehman, Lower Pottsgrove, said the program “allowed me to focus on my problem area—math—and pass the GED with flying colors.”

Gehman described how it became more and more difficult to return to school as time passed. However, as her youngest of four children started kindergarten this year, she realized it was time to continue her own education as well.

“It’s never too late to give yourself or your loved ones a brighter future through education,” she shared.

Gehman recently completed her first semester at the College, during which she earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average (GPA). She ultimately hopes to work with children who have learning challenges and brain trauma.

Marisol Lezcano, executive director of the Montgomery County WIB and deputy director of commerce, presented the graduates with their diplomas, and Peggy Schmidt, chair, WIB Youth Council, provided closing remarks.

“I’m sure, as you have gone through this journey, people told you that you couldn’t do it. But your hard work paid off,”  she said, just before asking attendees to join her in reciting the lyrics to “High Hopes.”

To learn more about the GED program or GED testing services, visit http://www.mc3.edu/adm-fin-aid/ged.

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