GED Graduates Honored for Accomplishments
Thirty volunteers and students awarded for
dedication and perseverance
More than 185 Project Learn students have earned GED diplomas since last June. On Tuesday, about 45 of them attended a graduation to honor their accomplishments.
One of the graduates, Samuel Potter, dropped out of high school 14 years ago. He once considered himself an "under-achiever" who was more interested in making money than learning.
However, in 2008, Potter realized he wanted a change in his life. He came to Project Learn for help earning his GED. His goal was to become more competitive in the job market. Not only did Potter earn his GED, but he is now the CEO of his own computer software company and will release a science fiction strategy game next month.
Potter was also honored with an award for being Project Learn's top scholar for the 2008-2009 program year. He earned this distinction by scoring 752 out of 800 possible points on the official GED test.
"Getting my GED gave me the confidence to do what I never did, and the credibility to be great in life," Potter said.
The graduates were amazed by Potter's dedication and amazing achievement. They also enjoyed listening to Maurice Thomas, a former Project Learn GED graduate.
"You are the community leaders of tomorrow," Thomas told the graduates. "But tomorrow is today and the will to achieve comes from within. You just proved you have that will."
Thomas participated in the agency's first GED graduation ceremony. Since earning his GED in 2006, he has received his associate's degree in fire protection. Thomas will receive his bachelor's degree in emergency management this December.
Project Learn's GED program targets adults who are at least 16 years old and officially withdrawn from school. Since the agency's first GED graduation ceremony in 2006, it has helped more than 585 students earn their diploma.
"What students like most about Project Learn are the dedicated staff, teachers and volunteers because they care about their progress," said Marquita Mitchell, director of development and workforce solutions.
Our students are taught to apply what they learn into everyday work and life, Mitchell added.
"I am proud and humbled to be standing in front of such an accomplished group of people," said David Jennings, executive director of the Akron-Summit County Public Library, in his keynote address. "You are testimonies that life's obstacles don't have to win."
2009 Award Recipients
Barbara Norton Outstanding Community Partner Award
Recipient: Twinsburg Public Library
United Way Volunteer Center Recognition Award
Recipient: Janice Sheftel
Helen Stahler Volunteer of the Year Award
Recipient: Aseil Dakkak
Jean Sonnhalter Tutor of the Year Award
Recipient: Robin Green
Outstanding Volunteers and Tutors (2008-2009)
Aseil Dakkak Andrea Mayfield Diana Tirpak
Elizabeth Davis Bonnie Novak Verna VanderKooi
Rhonda Graham Inge Orendt
Robin Green Emory Strahlem
Top three tutors with the most volunteer hours
Dale Busse (369 hours) Daniel Wisemen (117 hours)
Janice Sheftel (95 hours)
Top three students with the most attendance hours
James Barbuto (160 hours) Donna Williams (167 hours)
Ronald Jefferson (173 hours)
National Adult Education Honor Society Inductees
Monica Bacco Scott Fulkerson Lucy Martinez
Mary Collins Wendy Fulkerson Adriana Munoz
Joy Clupper Crystal Hitchcock Noe Vazques
Murtini Eisenberger Ronald Jefferson Malachi Wynn
Kay Burner Adult Learner of the Year Award
Recipient: Crystal Hitchcock
Project Learn ESOL Student of the Year Award
Recipient: Adriana Munoz
Top Scholar Award (2008-2009)
Recipient: Samuel Potter
Writing Excellence Award
Recipient: Micaela Strickland