One by one, the students stepped onto the platform and into the spotlight. There they received certificates recognizing their hard-earned achievements and an enthusiastic handshake from Chancellor Glenn DuBois. Afterward, they posed for photographs like dignitaries.
It was a fitting ceremony for more than two dozen individuals from around the state who’ve made the arduous trek from foster care to adulthood.
Thomas Wise graduated from John Tyler Community College with an associate degree in business administration. While currently employed as a merchandiser with Lowe’s, Wise looks back fondly on his Great Expectations (GE) experience.
“It helped me get my education. My coach was right there and helped me get the job. She also helped me get my life focused on my career.”
Sha’cora Allen, who’ll graduate this summer from Reynolds Community College with an associate degree in culinary arts, says she’s very excited about her future, adding things might’ve turned out differently had it not been for her positive GE experience.
“It made a great impact in my life because they were there for support. If I needed someone to talk to or if I needed direction as far as schooling, financial aid, advising, classes or anything like that, they pointed me in the right direction.”
Steven and Allison Bolling got married while involved in the GE program at Danville Community College and both now have their GEDs.
“It wasn’t easy. I just told my coach that I wanted to get my GED before I got married. I believe I was the first person in the state to get a GED in 2014. He (gesturing to her husband) was the last person to get his in 2013.”
Steven wants to be a welder while Allison has her sights set on becoming a nurse.
“I was thinking about becoming an RN. But I think I’m going to do the LPN first to make sure that’s what I want to do before I go head-first. If I get an LPN and get a job that I like, I’m going to go back and get my RN.”
When asked about the challenges that inevitably lie ahead, Allison seemed eager to respond.
“We’re going to take on whatever comes our way!”
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