The big payoff

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Students honored at GED graduation

By The Staff

The Owen County Adult Learning Center Class of 2011 celebrated its accomplishments June 26 at the Owen County Extension Building.
The graduates represent a broad cross section of people in the community. They range in age from 17 to 56. But they all have dreams to fulfill and stories to tell.
The ceremonies began with a welcome from Veronica Gayle, director for adult education.
She expressed heart-felt thanks for the support shown by the audience for the students represented on this great occasion.
The invocation was delivered by Fannie Osborne, who is a retired instructor and long-time friend and supporter of adult education in Owen County.
No graduation ceremony of adult students would be complete without a few well-placed words from some of the graduates.
Three students spoke about their experiences at the Adult Learning Center and their plans and dreams for the future. Jon Hopkins, Christina Johns and Kelli Osborne each spoke about their journey, from the first step in the door of the Adult Learning Center — of the encouragement and support from staff, family and friends along the way ­— to the day they earned their GED.
Each expressed their excitement about the future because of the commitment they made to succeed.
During this part, Liz Carfora, instructor at the Adult Learning Center, spoke of the many memories she will cherish for life because of the hard work and commitment of these students.
The commencement speaker was Robert Stafford. With eloquence, he shared his memories as a child, going with his mom, as she instructed adult students in Montgomery County and the impact that those students had on his life. He said that experience made him understand the importance of education and the power it has to change and improve one’s life. He encouraged the graduates to keep moving toward their goals and to “never quit.”
Owen County School Superintendent David Raleigh presented each student with certificates of completion, which declared publicly that they had met the requirements as GED graduates.
Raleigh talked about stepping outside of your comfort zone and doing the things that so many people will not do to succeed.
When the ceremony concluded, the students marched out to the tune of the Hallelujah Chorus. A reception followed, which included sweet treats by Sisterly Touch and other delights made by Connie Gayle.  
Each student received small gifts of congratulations from several businesses and individuals in the community, including Petals on the Square, Sunshine Grow Shop, McDonald’s, Clark Roberts, Minch’s Hardware, Hometown Pizza, Subway, Family Billiards, Milkweed Wotier, North Park Pharmacy and Rita’s Furniture. TRC Resources printed the Achievement Awards for the ceremony.
After many pictures, hugs, and tears of joy everyone went away with a feeling of satisfaction and gratitude.