CCC&TI honors GED, adult graduates

May. 09, 2014 @ 12:24 PM

The sense of accomplishment was in the air at the Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute’s Thursday graduation for 305 GED and adult high school students.

Larry Taylor, chairman of the college’s board of trustees, said that the graduates, ages 16 to 72, add to the overall success of CCC&TI. He added that there was a mother, father and daughter of the same family all graduating together that night.

Several graduates shared their stories before the presentation of diplomas. Yareth Marquez talked about coming to North Carolina at a young age from Honduras. She could not speak English then, and now she will work with young children, thanks to her adult high school degree.

“I would like to challenge everyone here to finish their education,” Marquez said. “Getting your GED will open doors in your life.”

Audriea McElyea spoke of being in foster care and fighting as hard as she could to obtain her GED, which she received on Christmas Eve. She said it was “the best Christmas present ever.”

Joseph Ward dropped out of high school at the age of 16 and was drinking too much. Now, at 30, he said he has received a plethora of opportunities since finishing his degree and plans to pursue another degree in criminal justice. His motivation for finishing was his 5-year-old daughter, whom he wants to have “a bright future.”

Also at Thursday’s ceremony, Doyle Reid was recognized as the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus and presented with an award by Beverly Jaynes, department chair for College and Career Readiness.

“I couldn’t have done this without all the fine men and woman at Caldwell Community College,” Reid said. “I feel like if anyone deserves an award it would be them, not me, because without them, we would not be here.”

CCC&TI will hold two graduation ceremonies for its traditional students tonight at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.