GED recipients celebrate success

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  HATTIESBURG – Family and friends cheered and applauded as 58 graduates of the Pearl River Community College adult basic education program received completion certificates Thursday, May 23, at the Forrest County Center.
  The ceremony recognized their hard work to earn GED certificates after they didn’t complete high school.
  For some, the certificate represents years of struggle.
  “Because I was afraid of the math, I’d leave the program,” said Sharon Dean of Hattiesburg, who tried for more than 10 years to get her GED and was one of two student graduation speakers. “Everything changed when my son asked me for help with his homework.”
  Jerry Hodges of the Bellevue community near Hattiesburg attended GED preparation classes during the weeks he was home from his off-shore job. He’s been out of school for about 30 years and hopes finishing his high school education will allow him to move up to a crane operator’s job.
  “Employment doors were closing,” he said. “This is going to open up more doors. It wasn’t too hard.”
  For EsquRita Collins of Hattiesburg, the walk across the stage fixed a bureaucratic error.
  “I actually graduated high school in 1998,” she said. “I went to apply at Antonelli College and went there for about two months and my high school had lost all my records. All they could say was I attended.”
  Collins lost her diploma from the Tennessee high school in a fire and had no proof of her graduation. She easily passed all of the GED test sections on the first try except for math but earned the certificate in January. She works two jobs and plans to study to become a paralegal.
  Dr. William Lewis, PRCC president, congratulated the students and encouraged them to continue their education at PRCC.
  “I want to be among the first to pat you on the back,” Lewis said. “This is a new beginning for all of you. You’ve created a big opportunity for yourself. On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the faculty and staff of Pearl River Community College, I want to wish you well.”
  Approximately 225 students earned the GED certificate during the 2012-13 year after studying at one of the PRCC program sites. Those who participated in graduation are listed by the site they attended:
  Hattiesburg – Hector Emilio Amaya, Delilah Bonner, Lisa Ann Brown, EsquRita Collins, Sharon Dean, Steven Dickinson, Willie Edward Ellis Jr., Marcia Liseth Gomez, Jessica Nicole Graham, Shureka Graham, Terrance Hinton, Jerry Hodges, Charles A. Hyatt, Octavia James, Haley Ann Johnson, Elizabeth Kelly Lambert, Cody Lane McClendon, Caitlyn Allie McRaney, Nichelle T. Peters, Christopher Rice and Christina Sledge.
Hancock County – Heather Antee, Amber Bounds, Angelica Childress, Samantha Clark, Misty Daniels, Blaine Freeman, Jessica Gilbert, Robbin Jagodzinski, Jeramie Lee Kelly, Jamies Koscinski, Leslie Moran and Reba Louis Revelle.
  Picayune – Tina Lanell Craig, Savannah Dillard, Patrick Henley, Colan Miller, Lauren Pearson, Danielle Lisa Pellegrin and Dallas Andre Sones.
  Columbia – Laken Brock, Robert Michael Shane Coleman, Angela Galloway, Carla Kellum and Keanna Peters.
  Poplarville – Carmen M. Cantrell, Morgan Johnson, Keki Kinney and Amelynn Serrano.
  Prentiss – Jessica Dixon-Estay and Jamie Smith.
  Petal – Tonya Adams-Toney.
  Also, Samantha Capitano, Raven McVay, Mary Parks, Dana D. Peavy, Jessi Sanford and Jennifer Walker.
  Adult basic education classes at PRCC are free and are offered in all counties of the PRCC district – Forrest, Hancock, Jefferson Davis, Lamar, Marion and Pearl River. For information, telephone 601 554-5551 or 601 554-5514.

Shureka Graham’s family brought balloons to celebrate her graduation from Pearl River Community College’s adult basic education program on Thursday, May 23. They are, from left,  husband Avery Graham, 9-year-old daughter Jeniya Toney and 8-year-old son, D’Anthony Rancifer. The family lives in Hattiesburg but Shureka Graham dropped out of school in Picayune.
PRCC Public Relations photo

Jerry Hodges of the Bellevue community receives his certificate for completing the Pearl River Community College adult basic education program and earning his GED from Barry Upton, director, during graduation on Thursday, May 23, at the Forrest County Center.
PRCC Public Relations photo

Terrance Hinton of Hattiesburg speaks to fellow graduates on Thursday, May 23, at the Forrest County Center as students received their adult basic education completion certificates from Pearl River Community College.PRCC Public Relations photo

Amber Bounds receives her adult basic education certificate from Pearl River Community College ABE director Barry Upton during graduation ceremonies on Thursday, May 23, at the Forrest County Center. Bounds took classes at the Hancock County site to prepare for the GED test.
PRCC Public Relations photo