LA PLATA, Maryland – On November 10, faculty and staff at the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) were joined by friends and family of 24 adult education graduates to celebrate returning to school and earning their Maryland high school diplomas. The opening festivities took place in person on the La Plata campus.
The MSC Adult Education Program offers adult basic education courses that cover all areas of basic reading, writing and math to prepare students for the GED test or the National Diploma Program. external. The program also offers ESL courses to provide basic English and life skills instruction to adults whose first language is not English. The CSM’s adult education program is supported by grants from the Maryland Department of Labor, the US Department of Education, and local funding. Because of this funding, most courses are free.
“You did it!” MSC President Dr. Maureen Murphy told the graduates during her opening remarks. “I am delighted to be the first to congratulate you on your graduation this evening. For many of you, this is a time that you perhaps thought was an impossible dream; but, yet, it was a dream that inspired you to stretch. And now look at yourself! You have made your dream come true, and more, you have inspired others who have watched you, coached you and are there to celebrate your success. On behalf of the dedicated college team and adult education staff, we are excited to help make your dreams come true.
Murphy then surprised the family of graduate Psalms Wilson, Prince Frederick.
“Before I go any further into the program, I want to take a minute to pay tribute to former CSM Vice President Dr. Richard Fleming, who prior to his retirement worked tirelessly with the Continuing Education program. and college workforce development to make the college the provider of the Adult Basic Education Program / General Education Diploma (GED) in Calvert and St. Mary’s counties, ”said said Murphy, who explained that the CSM expanded to offer the program in Charles County a few years ago. “Dr. Fleming was dedicated to the program and to the students who had the courage to return to school and complete their high school education – that he created a scholarship to be awarded to a Calvert County graduate. grateful to Dr. Fleming for his enduring gift to our students, and tonight we are delighted to announce that Psalms Wilson will receive a $ 250 scholarship to continue his education at CSM.
The president then surprised all the students by announcing that each of them would receive a $ 500 scholarship to continue their studies at the CSM.
Calling the graduates “pioneers,” the director of the Maryland Department of Labor Office of Adult Education and Literacy Services and keynote speaker Terry R. Gilleland, Jr. congratulated the graduates on their accomplishments.
“You are here today because of your determination, your passion, your hard work,” said Gilleland. “While you were doing the heavy lifting, there are key people in your life who have helped you on this path, including the great instructors here at CSM. And as you say thank you to these wonderful people, my request is that you pay it to the next one.
“By being here today, you have proven that anything is possible when you put your whole heart and mind into it,” he continued. “But chances are you know someone who doesn’t have a high school diploma. Reach out and tell them it’s possible and be their inspiration – and it will make all the difference. For some people, this is what they need – someone in their corner to support it. And you can do it because you have helped to pave the way for others.
Gilleland reminded graduates and their families that there are times in life that you cannot find again. “And there is one thing you can never get back: time. You can lose one job and get another. You can lose money and earn more. Yes, you can lose friends and meet new ones. But you never save time.
He then encouraged everyone to live their lives to the fullest.
“Be an agent of change and make a difference, however you see fit. You see, no footprint you leave is too big or too small. Find your passion – the one that gives you goosebumps, or that amazing feeling in your stomach when the roller coaster takes a steep drop – find your passion and live it every day. You do this and all of the hard work that got you to be here tonight will be worth it, and the final chapter of your book – your journey in life – won’t end with regrets.
Raylen Eggleston stepped onto the podium to be the student speaker for the class. The Lexington Park resident congratulated her fellow graduates and shared her pride in each of them.
“I have seen with my own eyes how difficult the road to success can be,” said Eggleston. “I was 17 with a GPA of 3.8 when I quit. I had a quarter of a school year left in my last year. I was newly married and had just enrolled in a new high school. A few months went by and I was trying to balance the bills of adult life with high school homework. I was looking for a job but couldn’t balance everything and we were already behind on rent so I chose to work instead of finishing my studies. There are many times I’ve regretted this decision, but at the same time, if I hadn’t been through all of this, I wouldn’t be here today.
Eggleston shared how nervous she was about enrolling in the adult education program, but when she passed her very first test, she regained her confidence. “I was so excited that I scheduled all of my other tests that day! ” she laughed. “The following weeks were spent working, studying and testing. And once I passed all of my tests, I was set up with a transition specialist to talk to them about the best course to take. At first I thought I was going to law school, but decided that psychology would be better for me. I still have a lot of pieces of the puzzle to put together, but that’s life. It is a bridge to your success.
She also thanked the staff of the CSM. “This program is a great tool that helps a lot of people,” she said. “People who didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel originally are starting to see a faint glow over time in this program. This program gives people a chance they never thought they had. The staff involved in this program are amazing; they really care and want the best for every student they meet. I really aspire to be like them. They are so caring and have the biggest heart.
Jason Reed, from Chesapeake Beach, agreed. “I can’t thank CSM enough for helping people who couldn’t see success in themselves,” Reed said.
Reed explained that he had worked in construction his whole life, and while acknowledging that it wasn’t a bad job, it wasn’t his dream job. His dream career was to work on trains at Amtrak – and he got the job as soon as he graduated from high school.
“My advice to anyone who may not have finished high school is never to give up,” Reed said. “I started this process in 2015 and failed the math test three times, but the CSM kept helping me and eventually I did. Never give up.”
For Stephanie Boothe, seeing her daughter walk across the stage after graduating from high school was emotional.
“I’m so proud that she took it,” she said of her daughter Ashely, who plans to continue her studies at CSM as a full-time student next semester. “I love her so much and that her daughter – my granddaughter – Braelynn will see her walk across the stage means so much to all of us.”
Here is the list of graduates who attended the Fall 2021 Adult Education Program graduation ceremony:
Ana Claros Alvarez
To view photos from the launch event, visit https://csmphoto.zenfolio.com/aedgrad2021 (It may take several days after the ceremony for photos to appear.)