STC celebrates GED graduates, new beginning
STC GED graduate and class speaker Rebecca Smith (above) shared her personal journey on her way to receiving her GED diploma to inspire others and congratulate her fellow peers. Nearly 100 STC GED graduates were celebrated during an emotional ceremony as they accepted their GED diplomas.
South Texas College is creating a new tradition with its second annual General Educational Development (GED) graduation ceremony, celebrating, and awarding diplomas to nearly 150 students who completed the program.
“For our graduates, today marks the beginning of a life filled with new goals in a world with many opportunities,” said STC President Ricardo J. Solis, Ph.D. “It hasn’t been easy, but the hardest step in their journey was making the decision to return to school, and now they have the confidence to be bold and seek further opportunity for the betterment of themselves and their families. They are on the pathway to success.”
The ceremony, held at the Mission Event Center, marked a new beginning for students such as recent GED graduate Rebecca Smith, who despite enjoying school and sports, did not finish high school or earn a high school diploma.
“At the time, I didn’t know how important school was and how important obtaining an education was until it was too late,” she said as this year’s class speaker. “I always said I wanted a GED, but I kept pushing the dream aside.”
Getting a GED is such a milestone moment. I commend all our students for their hard work, sacrifice and dedication…the possibilities are endless.
As her three children got older, she said she realized it was time to get her GED.
“No more waiting. No more excuses,” said the 33-year-old.
And like her fellow graduates, only telling her immediate family about her decision to enroll in STC’s GED program, she began taking classes and took it one day at a time to get to the finish line.
“I honestly did not think I would make it this far,” she said. “But it was the help and preparation I received from my GED teacher Mrs. Herrera (referring to Elizabeth
Herrera, STC Continuing Education trainer) that helped me make it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Mrs. Herrera, we did this together.”
The graduates had to complete 150 hours of test preparation in four academic areas, including Mathematical Reasoning, Reasoning through Language Arts, Social Studies and Science.
Most students qualify for grants and financial assistance programs that make this journey tuition free and on average, at least a third of students go on to continue their education after receiving their GED diploma.
STC Dean of Continuing Education, Workforce Training and Economic Development, Olivia De La Rosa, said that a GED opens possibilities for students such as new job opportunities, continuing education or technical programs.
“Getting a GED is such a milestone moment,” she said. “I commend all our students for their hard work, sacrifice and dedication. This is the first step toward success, now the possibilities are endless.”
Endless possibilities are what GED graduate Nazario Aguilar now looks forward to after getting his diploma.
“I come from a big family, and I had to work at a very young age to help support them, so I never got to finish high school,” said the 40-year-old. “But now with children of my own, it’s important that I set an example and show them that not only is education important, but also possible at any age.”
Aguilar’s new goal is to enroll at STC and get a certificate or degree in Welding.
“I’ve always had an interest in pursuing welding and a higher degree, now with this GED diploma, it’s possible,” he said. “STC changed my life for the better and I know it will continue to make me a better student and person for my family and community.”
As for Smith, she has already enrolled at STC for fall 2023 to pursue an associate degree in Kinesiology with the goal of becoming a coach with a local school district.
“I felt scared coming in because I didn’t think I would be able to accomplish this dream, but because my family was always patient and reminding me to think positive, now anything is possible. I am happy to say this is not the end of my educational journey.”
For more information on STC’s GED program, visit southtexascollege.edu/cpit/courses/personal/ged/.