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Wallace-Dothan Holds 2017 GED Graduation


Dothan, Ala.Wallace Community College – Dothan (WCCD) held commencement ceremonies for 40 graduates of the Adult Education GED program on Sunday, April 30 at the Wallace Campus in Dothan. Caitlin Renee Ulry (Valedictorian – Dothan) and Cassidy Marie-Lewis Ward (Salutatorian – Newton) were recognized and spoke during graduation.

Ulry said that her greatest lesson as a student was the value of courage. “I had multiple illnesses during high school that forced me to quit. I left lost and broken,” she said. “But I’ve learned that there are no limits on my future.” Ulry encouraged her fellow classmates, stressing they had all they needed to succeed and overcome their own setbacks and obstacles. Ulry is now a student at WCCD and is pre-med with a 4.0 grade point average.

Ward also had challenges growing up, and she never thought that she would be addressing an audience as a salutatorian. At 16, Ward found herself on her own, with an unknown future and low self-esteem. “I wanted more out of life. It was my husband who encouraged me to complete the GED.” She enrolled in GED classes and quickly completed the requirements. She even returned to class two days after her 2nd child was born. Ward encouraged her classmates to continue their education. “Never give up on you,” she said. Ward will begin classes at WCCD in the fall.

Ms. Stefanie Bowie, WCC adult education director, applauded the group and their collective work ethic. She reminded the graduates that the GED was the first step to a better education. “There are 800,000 adults in Alabama who do not have a GED or high school diploma,” she said. “You are no longer one of these.”

Keynote speaker Jackie Screws, dean of student affairs, spoke to the graduates about the importance of furthering their education. “Post-secondary education is vital in today’s society,” she said. She cited a Georgetown University jobs reports indicating that there will be 31 million job openings through 2020 because of retiring baby boomers and another 24 million new jobs will be created. “At least 65% of these positions will require postsecondary education and training.” Screws encouraged students to set goals and stay on track to further their education. “Ask yourself if a GED is enough to attain your goals.”

The GED program reaches out to everyone who endeavors to complete their high school credentials. Wallace offers one class free to GED graduates. Eighty-three percent of these GED graduates are already attending WCCD or are planning to attend. A high school diploma or equivalency is required by employers for most jobs in today’s economy.

Wallace Community College offers free GED preparation classes through its Adult Education program at fourteen locations in Houston, Henry, and Barbour counties. For more information on the program, call (334) 556-2373 in Dothan or (334) 619-3000 in Eufaula.

GED graduates receiving certificates were:

Abbeville: Jason Royal and Kody Smith; Clayton: Olivia Michelle Hutto; Cottonwood: Rodrick Parker; Dothan: Kaderricka Lachante Adams, Kendall Clark, Ty Patrick Coleman, Makayla Daniels, Safari Tybrielle Davis, Crystal Deason, Alyssa Langston Dill, Ashtyn Tilden Fennell, Debra Franco, Tieteona Griffin, Amanda Harris, Kiyomi Wenona Key, Kelly Lopez-DeVictoria, DeAndre McDowell, Ceila C. McGriff, Alexis Marie Romano, Hayli Saad, Erin M. Shelley (Honor Graduate), Caitlin Renee Ulry (Valedictorian), Erica Wadsworth, and Amber Leyah Warren; Eufaula: Charles Henry Davis, Kristina Faircloth, Amelia Louise Sage, Nicole Renee Shade, and Shaylee Spears; Hartford: Tori Clenney; Headland: Crystal Frane-Granberry, Penny Lavaris Johnson, and William Wesley Sowell (Honor Graduate); Midland City: Lisa Hitchcock; Newton: Bridget Newman, Cassidy Marie-Lewis Ward (Salutatorian), and Treston Ward; Slocomb: Christopher L. Davis and Travis Michael Young, Jr.

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