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Six receive GEDs as state program prepares to change



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Andrea Elliott, left, was one of six students who received a GED at a Community House ceremony on December 17. Program coordinator Christie Shaw-Doran, right, shared the special moment. Darin Wipperman/The Littleton Courier. (click for larger version)
December 26, 2012
LITTLETON — Adult Learner Services celebrated new GED graduates this month. With families, friends, and Executive Councilor Ray Burton in attendance, six individuals received their diplomas in the Community House.

The graduates who attended the December 17 celebration were: John Bolduce, Dylan Coday, Andrea Elliott, Christian Glaesnapp, Amber Marshall, and Cammi McLaughlin.

Greg Goodwin played some live keyboard music to add to the cheerful atmosphere.

Program coordinator Christie Shaw-Doran said that ceremony was meant to honor the "wonderful, wonderful people who worked very hard." She thanked the students' family and supporters for offering vital support. "Everyone who comes into our office is terrified," Shaw-Doran said with a smile.

Linda Clark informed the graduates, "You have achieved a launching point." She said their hard work proved that obstacles can be overcome. "You cannot say, 'I can't do it, I just have a GED,'" Clark said.

Sister Carmen Blais, who has worked in the GED program since 1998, said she was very grateful to the graduates. Blais informed them that the GED is "only a passport. You still have to get on the plane and figure out where you are going."

Marshall noted that she never had a good time in school. She appreciated the support of her husband and family, who have "always been there." McLaughlin focused on her family in her remarks. She said the effort to get a GED was "so my daughter would be proud of me."

Elliott feels "she can do anything" thanks to the support she has found. Getting a GED has given her more confidence, Elliott said. "It's a really great program," she said.

Burton expressed great pleasure with the graduates' hard work. He enjoyed hearing the "stories of success" that the graduates told. Burton thanked Shaw-Doran and the program staff for their support of local students.

As the graduates took pictures with family, Blais discussed some changes coming to the state's GED program. Those who have started the process should complete the five tests in the GED program in order to graduate in 2013. Uncompleted work after that point will not count, she said. This is because the state is changing its GED program.

Blais said the changes are an effort to make the program "more applicable to today's needs." Adoption of common core curriculum standards is a driving force behind the revamped GED program, Blais concluded.

Clark said that Adult Learner Services has greatly expanded its presence at the Grafton County Correctional Facility. In previous years, only a very small number of inmates were pursuing GED studies. Dozens are doing so currently, Clark noted.

Burton spoke to graduates personally after the ceremony. He even met one young man who plans to graduate next year. The Councilor promptly handed the student his business card. Certainly, that cannot hurt future professional opportunities for the fortunate recipient.

Northern Human Services
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Coos County Department of Corr
Martin Lord Osman
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