Adult Learning Center Graduation – Class of 2018

Adult Learning Center Graduation – Class of 2018

January 6, 2020 0 By Kody Olson


Oh and the Rockets red glare and of the free
and you may be seated thank you so much mr.
Haynes and mr. Andre small who played our students into the auditorium with
pomp and circumstance we appreciate your inspiration this evening at this time
I’d like to introduce our special guests and staff members seated on the stage
dr. Aaron C Spence superintendent of Virginia Beach City
Public Schools dr. mark Bergen chief of staff school board chair mrs.
Beverly Anderson tonight’s student speaker mr. Galen
Wilson dr. Heather Lane adult academic coordinator for easy miss Melissa Lee
our keynote speaker mr. Daniel Keever senior executive director for high
school education and school board members mr. dan Edwards mrs. Sharon Felton, mrs. Dottie Holtz ms. Trenace Riggs, mrs. Carolyn Rye miss and mrs. Sandra Turner GED
instructor this is Natasha Christian adult academic coordinator for Lane and
representing the Thalia Lions Club mr. Robert Perrine and mr. Franklin Williams
GED instructor in the audience we are pleased to have with us is Eileen Cox
chief media and communications officer and dr. LaQuiche parrot director of
opportunity and achievement we’d also like to extend a welcome to
all Virginia Beach Public Schools staff and mrs. Joyce Halstead and members of
our graduation committee who are so instrumental in organizing and of course
all members of the Adult Learning Center faculty and staff and I would also like
to publicly thank staff members who are critical to our success in operating the
largest GED Testing Center in the Commonwealth mrs. Joyce Lovett Mr Dan’s
stringent and the GED examiners who are present this evening
thank you all for protecting the integrity of the testing process in the
movie finally mr. Danny little in his staff at Princess Anne High School who
shared their lovely auditorium with us and mrs. Mary Ann laughter mr. Jim
Lafleur sorry mr. Jim long and mr. David rose from the Office of Student
Activities fifteen years ago the Adult Learning
Center joined the state’s race to GED initiative the mission of this was to
reach the over 700,000 Virginians without high school diplomas encouraging
them to earn a GED certificate and to increase the states and even the
nation’s economic vitality this Mission Continues and we gathered this evening
to honor those who have not only accepted this challenge but who have
also met the challenge by earning their GEDs during the 2017-18 school year the
Adult Learning Center has administered the GED exam to 290 individuals which is
the most in the state and we had a hundred and seventy-nine completers
which also leads the state we still have students who are back home diligently
working in classes preparing to meet this challenge in the future but tonight
we have 73 individuals earning a credential who who chose to participate
in tonight’s ceremony and you’ll notice tonight that we also
have our fourth cohort of graduates who participated in opportunity inks grant
funded foundations transition program this program supports 18 to 24 year olds
who desire to achieve their GED certificate these grads can be
identified tonight by the gold cords they’re wearing my staff and I know that
anyone who earns a GED credential becomes a more responsible and more
productive member of society it is extremely gratifying to see
students work so diligently to attain a goal and I would like to share some
information about tonight’s graduates among those participating in this
ceremony are 24 individuals who formerly attended Virginia Beach High School’s
five who left surrounding area schools and 13 who left schools in other states
in addition tonight’s graduates represent the countries of China Ecuador
Germany Guatemala Honduras Indonesia Italy Jamaica Mexico the Philippines and
Africa they are a truly diverse group ask for
future plans 13 of tonight’s graduates are enrolled or will be enrolling in Tai
powder Community College three students will pursue training in the medical
fields two are enrolled in Adult Learning Center medical translator and
pharmacy technician classes two are enrolled in post-secondary proprietary
schools around the region and four are enlisting in the Armed Services we have
future accountants nurses teachers criminal justice and computer techs as
well as chefs welders and designers among our graduates recognition and
appreciation must also be extended to the family members and friends here
tonight who provided much-needed support and encouragement as our students work
toward their goals let’s join the graduates in thanking
their friends and families Tidewater Community College has been
one of our school partners for the past 27 years and one of the most beneficial
aspects of the partnerships for our students is the opportunity to apply for
a scholarship to the College establish it funded by the failure Alliance Club
another one of our partners since 1995 will be presented this evening at this
time mr. Robert Horine member of the Thalia Lion’s club will explain the
scholarship and presented good evening I’m Lion Bob Perrine, scholarship chairman for the Thalia Lions Club you guys moved Thalia
Lions Club and your Adult Learning Center we kind of grew up together we’re this is thirty three years for you guys
we’ve been here about the same number of years so since you all moved down to
Kempsville we asked the Kempsville Lions Club can we continue with you guys and
they said of course the Lions Club is the largest club in the world
there’s over 35,000 lions we use a hundred percent of our money for
diabetes salt and hearing impairment and various community projects like this one
that I’m going to give some scholarships tonight we’re sending two checks to
Tidewater Community College for use in paying tuition to two hard-working and
resourceful men determined to succeed I’d like first of all for the
scholarship for one thousand dollars going to hunter Perez to please come up
and accept the award I took the place about three years ago
of EDD long who for 20 years was here on stage giving out scholarships he’s
passed away and I’ve taken his shoes and we created the EDD long Memorial
Scholarship for five hundred dollars and that scholarship this year goes to
Johnny Miranda good evening everyone tonight is an
intentional night of celebration one that showcases the success of our
students who have achieved the honor of earning their GED through determination
commitment persistence and dedication to the goal of completing this phase of
their education this indeed is a milestone in their lives we continue
with the celebration as we proudly present gift cards to the following
students who have earned the three highest total GED scores the gift cards
which total over 700 dollars are being presented to each of our high achievers
each gift card has been donated by the Friends of ALC as well as various
community businesses within the Hampton Roads area who support the education
program here at the Adult Learning Center now to our achievers as your name
is called please come forward to the stage well you will receive your gift
cards first we’ll begin with the third highest GED test score hunter Perez congratulations next we’d like to introduce our second
highest GED test scorer David Lawrence who is receiving gift
cards totaling two hundred and thirty seven dollars congratulations finally for the highest
GD d GED test score Herbert Tennant he’s receiving gift
cards totally 252 dollars to all of our students
thank you for your tenacity and your ability to never quit good evening
I am honored to stand before you on this exhilarating 23rd of the night to
introduce our Adult Learning Center 2018 student speaker I along with my peer
educators share in this special moment as we have all been touched by his very
personal and unique journey this introduction is especially meaningful as
I know it has been a long time coming yes from the lyrics of Sam Cooke it’s
been a long time coming but this change has finally come change being recognized
as something different new not the same and his change haven’t occurred over
time understand that he evolved his change did not occur on the day he
earned his diploma no it was a process when we all anxiously observed overtime
I used the adverb anxiously because this students Road was like that described by
Langston Hughes in the poem life ain’t been no crystal stand mr. Hughes wrote
life ain’t been no crystal stand it had tacks in it splinters and boards torn up
places with no carpet on the floor BAM but all the time this student was still
climbing moving toward his change and it came in spite of adversity despite
applause and as a result of believing in his own dream as you will soon recognize
this young man has taken life’s lemons and made lemonade he has found his one
Deen mountaintop and decided to climb a little higher
he has boldly stared his obstacles in the eye raised his chin and walked on by
and even though his journey was stalled it did not stop his process his
evolution continues you see on the day he earned his diploma he began his
college register my friend changed it’s still coming with
that being said I present to you a husband father entrepreneur and more
than a conqueror Galen Wilson good afternoon everyone Wow first I would like to thank my Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ without him none of this would be
possible I would like to honor every teacher that they don’t Learning Center
I just want to say thank you for taking the time to teach me as well as my
fellow graduates to the class of 2018 I like to say job well done we have
achieved our goal I would like to thank some very special people dr. Lam mrs.
Kearney mrs. Fellowes mrs. little
mrs. Wilson mrs. Brewton mrs. McGovern and an awesome math tutor mr. Harris my mother always said to me
give me my flowers while I’m living so I’m giving you all your flowers now I’m
very humbled that I was asked to be the keynote speaker I never thought this
would happen to me over four years that I’ve been a girl don’t learn in center
I’ve been through the fire but I always knew God wouldn’t put no more on me then
I could bear after completing the eighth grade I dropped out of school I had not
attended school for over 20 years after a lot of encouragement from my wife at
the end of 2012 I finally decided to return to school by registering for
night summer classes soon after entering the ALC my wife was diagnosed with MS
and father my object I started thinking every time I go forward a summer block
gets in my way when I talk with dr. Mann she encouraged me to take some time off
and take care of my wife I did just that one school was back in session I
returned as a daytime student even though I worked hard in class and gave
it my best I was always thinking about my beautiful
wife I would study a little here and there but my mom was on my wife I loved
that woman I love that woman well I decided in 2014 to take a shot
and in language art test I passed with a score of a 147 and when you pass a test
at the LC Congrats come from a lot of people teachers as well as students I
said to myself I’m going to get my GED the year 2015 was a rough one for rough
one I had seizure in class the EMR was called my wife was already sick I’m in
and out of the hospital from 2000 through 2014 I had four back surgeries
hooked up to all types of Weisberg brain procedures and then my driving license
were taken away my thought was man down well if that wasn’t enough January 27
2016 I had a 5th back surgery to correct a
fusion in March 2016 still believing God in the gold I set for myself this strong
and determined man you see here came back to school again
many were saying he’s not going to get his GED but I kept on going on November
the 7 2016 I received a call from Mayor View Hospital in Portsmouth my son
taequan had an asthma attack and lost oxygen to his brain for about 30 minutes
I knew I had to I knew I had to call on a higher power to get me through this
one and that’s what I did I were turning to school the next day show dr. Lam a
picture of taequan hooked up to all those machines her question was to me
what are you doing here that we went by I was determined to still pursue my
dream of getting my GED my son was steadily getting worse on November 15th
2016 8 days later my son top-1 passed away immediately I called dr. Lam she
encouraged me and consoled me as only she can do I have to burn my son Taekwon
I returned to the ALC some of the teachers asked me what are you doing
here I reply I’m going to get my GED even though I was hurting on the inside
I kept me moving I kept my focus on the prize when I passed the social studies
test with a score over 146 I started to see
some light I told my beautiful wife that I saw myself walking across the stage
and I held on to that vision in February I asked mr. McGovern for
helping science she gave me a size book which helped me pass the test
on February 23rd 2018 I passed the size test with a score of a
147 now I was in this special teacher’s class miss Turner she knew I was
struggling in math she began to break down every problem so that all of the
students in her class car understand but I still couldn’t get it miss Turner
this special woman was sent me too mr. Harrison the math tutor and it began to
get better I kept all my notes mr. Harrison was teaching mr. Turkus miss
Turner pushed me to take the GED ready I did so two times and it was always very
close but not close enough one day I was leaving class very discouraged I asked
miss little another special lady to help me she gave me words of wisdom that I
will never forget I taped it on my wall I put it in my cell phone and I read it
every morning and it is still there to this day miss Turner
and I declared that I would take the math GED test and pass it on the first
truck that exactly what happened may 5th May 5th 2018 was the best day of
my life I passed my last GD trust whistle with a
passing score of 8-1 46 in math out of all my classes the map GD test was the
one I struggled with the most I passed it after from that point on I remember
God keeps his promise he promised to help me get my GED he did currently I’m enrolled in TCC for
business business administration and management we now have a family business
Gill and son Mobile Detailing we did it top-1 we did it talk why thank you so much for sharing your story
period fire it is now my pleasure to welcome miss Melissa Melissa Lee a
product of Booker T Washington High School Norfolk State University and
Virginia Wesleyan College to bring remarks to our students tonight
Ms Lee’s background for developing programs began in the late 1960s who she
assisted the executive director of Tidewater Business and Contractors
Association to create this nonprofit that assisted minority businesses
throughout Tidewater later as an employee of Virginia Beach’s Department
of Housing and Neighborhood Development for almost 30 years
she created a home sharing program to decrease homelessness she also created a
program for underprivileged low-income youth throughout the city during her
tenure Ms Lee received several city managers creativity awards most notably
city employee of the year Ms Lee also received the YWCA of South Hampton Roads
Women of Distinction Award and they all states from whence we came Award as an
employee of Virginia Beach’s Department of Human Services she coordinates a
program to get recipients of snap into certified educational programs to
promote sustained viable employment for their future MS Lee also serves on the
huntin YMCA board and the city of Virginia Beach’s extension leadership
committee through the Virginia Cooperative Extension a family proponent
MS Lee is married to her childhood sweetheart with three children six
grandchildren five great-grandchildren and two grandsons and
I know I like that too and we are thrilled that she could join us today to
address our graduates please join me in welcoming miss Lee thank you so much I’m privileged to be
here to be your guest speaker and apparently they know that I’m
long-winded because they have my speech here and they told me I have to finish
in five minutes so hopefully I will finish by tomorrow if you give me an
opportunity again thank you for inviting me dr. Lam I called dr. Lam one of my
god children because she’s a pain but I still love her
thank you very much listen all those accolades and you think that maybe I’m
important well let me share something I’ve been told I’m a storyteller and
hopefully you are listen to the stories that I have to tell now graduates as
this is the first day for the remaining of your life my objective this evening
will be to set the foundation for your future I am told again that I’m a
storyteller you see I have sat and watched my parents friends business
partners enemies and children walk through life with experiences that have
brought many tears and smiles my rarely dates back to a place in Norfolk called
Rose mine I had no idea I had been poor until I sat in a model cities meeting
during the 60s I’m really young as you can see at that time model city has
specific targeted neighborhoods that were designated for rehabilitation but I
like to call it Guster ation that’s my derivative or destroying neighborhoods
it was in this meeting that those at the top of the spectrum decided the faith of
many of those poor folks I had now no idea they were referring to me because
my parents with their many issues like all of us made it clear that our
but to succeed by any means necessary my mother never finished elementary school
because her mother died during childbirth and her brother raised her
with limited funds with her limited education she built two houses from the
ground up and she served as a foster mother for the Norfolk social services
department while my father with his fifth grade education worked for Norfolk
Naval Shipyard and brought home the bacon for this educationally deprived
woman to manage their goal was to succeed by any means necessary
my mother-in-law was also a product of the same neighborhood at 18 she married
and by the time she was 23 she had five children her husband decided to escape
the bonds of matrimony just an aside my husband never saw his father again but
he was determined to make it through life and now that same man who never saw
his father has a master’s you see I get sidetracked a little so you gotta bear
with me well that mother-in-law of mine was on welfare which is now called ten
food stamps and Medicaid but she was determined natural I Rosemount and Henry
Lee senior to decide her future she received her BS by the time she was 50
and secured jobs along the way that stamp security for her future by any
means necessary at her age was graduating from college
possible where she made it possible because she wanted to survive well I
know you say they were just stories but they were real people like you
people who were destined for failure they decided that regardless of what
they had experienced the experiences would dictate who they could become even
though they had to fight to make it the fight secured and stabilize their future
so I speak to you who may have had difficult parents who told you that you
were destined to be nothing because they settle for nothing or teachers not here
maybe in high school or elementary school or even in secondary school who
couldn’t see beyond your failures and told you to give up or maybe you had a
child at an early age and lost your dreams or maybe you were told that you
had limited in eight abilities to learn or maybe you have been caught up in the
world system and found yourself incarcerated because you want it to
belong to a game to money or just because well I have great news for you
you can get out of that mindset because you have been endowed with gifts and
talents you aren’t using stop looking at the world through distorted images of
what you can’t do start setting goals and place them on your bathroom mirror
so that every day you are reminded that you have steps to take to secure your
future Dottie’s field who plays the merchant
tribal elder and black panther started acting when she was 88 Les Brown a
motivational speaker and formally married to Gladys Knight was labeled
intellectually disabled or as you say mentally retarded I sign the great
physicist taught himself because he said he didn’t like rote learning in school
Oprah Winfrey didn’t allow molestation to the take her to dictate her face bill
gates or Bill Gates founder of Microsoft
dropped out of Harvard University you can make it by any means necessary
I would like thank you very much but before I end I would like for miss J M I
call her mr. J M she’s the Graduate are you here tonight thank you
and the reason I’m having her to stand because we at social services are proud
of you she participated in the program we gave her money in March she came here
in April and today she’s graduated that’s who you need to cry I didn’t get permission to tell you the
many trials and tribulations that she came through but she made it and we
congratulate her for that mr. Wilton yes indeed you were the keynote speaker your
history just touched me in a way that I’ll never forget because you didn’t
give up and I thank you for not giving up this is the epitome of my speech by
any means necessary thank you so much miss Li
we really appreciate hearing your inspiring words tonight I will now ask
after Aaron Spence our superintendent to join me as certificates are presented to
our graduates graduates will be receiving your certificates as they
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steely Peter rush dilly Shana Riddick Shawn Smith Alex Taylor Amy young Bianca
dick Christopher Thomas sorry Sean
Toussaint’s Arianna Warren James Palmer weeks girl on Anthony Williams Emily Worley in Yi Yan Xing graduates please rise dr. Yvette as adults as adult academic
coordinator of the adult learning center I certify that these candidates have
fulfilled the requirements set forth by the Commonwealth of Virginia and the
school board of the city of Virginia Beach and I recommend them to you for
your acceptance by the authority vested in me by the school board of the city of
Virginia Beach I accept dr. Lam’s recommendation and
declare that you have met all requirements to be that you have met all
requirements to be a graduate of the adult learning center of the city of
Virginia Beach graduates it’s my privilege to oversee the switching of
the tassels signifying your completion of your graduation exercise you