High school equivalency graduates celebrate

Published 7:01 pm Friday, May 24, 2019

A group of 22 students took a big step as they received their high school equivalency (HSE) diplomas from Beaufort County Community College on May 16. The ceremony also included one student who received her United States citizenship. Seventeen students in the HSE program were inducted into the National Adult Honor Society at the ceremony. Some students already had employment lined up, while others plan to continue into other programs at the college.

Students work at their own pace with the guidance of an instructor. The program provides a second chance to adults who did not complete high school traditionally, some of whom left high school to work or start families. The graduating class even included two couples, Malashia Ballard and Romdell Grives, as well as Ceasar Nelson and Martina Pruitt Nelson, who decided to go through the program as a family.

“This is a step. It’s built to help you comfortably bring yourself to the next landing,” said Clay Carter, director of personal enrichment programs at the college. “These programs are built to help you keep taking steps, so take your eyes off the individual steps, and keep looking forward and up if you want to get to the top of the stairs.”

A number of the students will use this step as an entrance into the associate degree programs at BCCC.

Malashia Ballard, Kyle Barton II, Jule Campbell, Noemi Raquel Carrillo-Cuen, Carmen Delgado, Destiny Gettys, Jaqueline Gonzales-Martinez, Romdell Grimes, Paula Hernandez, Rahim Hicks, Latiqua Jones, Jessica Keel, Laquida Little, Sophia Mackey, Erick Mendoza, Will Mitchell, Ceasar Nelson, Martina Pruitt Nelson, Alejandra Sanchez, Cody Suggs, Kevin Tetteron and Javier Woolard all earned their high school equivalency diploma.

The ceremony also celebrated Maria Mendoza who went through naturalization to become a United States citizen. Unfortunately, Mendoza had already secured employment and could not make it to the ceremony. Naturalization is available through BCCC’s English language acquisition program.

Seventeen current students were inducted into the National Adult Honor Society. Anna Asermely, Trang Cao, Shakira Roberson, Dennis Sanders, Shira Williams, Wyconda Lane, Luke Reapp, Taylor Robert and William Staat are all current HSE students who were inducted, while

Malashia Ballard, Paula Hernandez, Romdell Grimes, Donald Gerald, Donald Phillips, Martina Pruitt Nelson, Jaqueline Gonzalez-Martinez and Ceasar Nelson were among the graduates.

Students in an HSE class work at different paces to prepare for testing in different academic areas. If they test out of an area, they can move on. The availability of regional programs in places like Roper and Aurora, means that students do not have to spend time or find transportation to get to the main campus of the college.

The percentage of Americans with a high school diploma has been increasing and now stands at 89.6 percent. As the population without a high school degree continues to decrease, these individuals risk having less employment opportunities and less economic mobility. According to the latest data in 2017, 85.9 percent of Beaufort County adults were high school graduates, up from 84.6 percent in 2016. In Washington and Hyde Counties 77.4 and 79.4 percent of adults, respectively, were high school graduates or higher in 2017. In Tyrrell County, that rate rose to 74.4 percent in 2017. Employers looking to locate in an area consider factors such as this to see if an educated workforce is readily available.


BCCC has also worked with county school systems in its service area to set up early college high schools, creating a simpler, quicker and free path to college, so that next step is less daunting, and so a student’s education does not stop at high school.


BCCC will offer high school equivalency classes at Washington County Center in Roper on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, at the Hazel Guilford Memorial Library in Aurora on Monday and Wednesday evenings, and on its main campus in Washington on Monday-Thursday mornings.


To get started on your high school equivalency today, contact Heather Collins at 252-940-6298.