Posted July 16, 2021
The Reaser Grand Room of the Spitzer Conference Center erupted in cheers Wednesday night as nearly 100 graduates of the Lorain County Community College Adult Literacy program crossed the stage and received their diplomas.
Dressed in graduation regalia, the students who participated in the ceremony represent a total class of 198 people who completed the 22+ adult diploma program and 97 graduates who completed their GED in 2020 and 2021 through the LCCC Aspire office. An in person graduation ceremony was not held in 2020 due to coronavirus restrictions.
Ohio Department of Higher Education Senior Vice Chancellor Gary Cates attended Wednesday’s ceremony and shared well wishes with the graduates and their families.
“Thank you for trusting yourself and for taking that first step,” Cates told the graduates. “And thank you to each of your support systems who are here and helped you get to tonight.”
Cates and LCCC President Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D., congratulated the graduates on overcoming obstacles to achieve their goals and encouraged them to keep moving forward.
“It takes courage to go back and finish what you started; and even more so to stay focused during a time of great uncertainty in our world,” Ballinger said. “Achieving this goal means opportunity – the potential for a better job, a higher salary and so much more.”
For 2021 GED graduate Lamar Horton, 24 from Elyria, earning his GED means more stability for himself and his family. He said it was the birth of his son that inspired him to complete his GED. Working full time while juggling parenthood and school was challenging but Horton said his support system helped him pull through and eventually pass all sections of the GED.
“The day has come that I can truly be proud of myself,” Horton said. “I want to say thank you to my family for never giving up on me.”
The completion of a high school credential opens up many opportunities for adults, including higher paying jobs and increased options in life. Ballinger encouraged the graduates to see their diploma as a starting line in their education and to keep up their momentum by enrolling at LCCC for associate degree or certificate programs.
“Tonight is a starting line and there is no limit to how far you can go,” Ballinger said.
To help students into the next phase, LCCC advising and support services specialists were available after the ceremony to connect the graduates to a program that meets their goals.
Completing a GED and continuing at LCCC can lead to a domino effect of positive results, said 2015 GED graduate Dorisa Johnson. Johnson used the momentum of earning her GED to propel her to each step in her journey: earning an associate degree in medical assisting in 2018 and continuing on to earn a bachelor’s degree in allied health from Youngstown State University through LCCC’s University Partnership in May 2021.
“It all started with getting my GED,” Johnson said. “If I hadn’t completed my GED, I wouldn’t have been able to apply and complete my college degree.”
In Lorain County, more than 20,000 adults do not have their GED or high school diploma, limiting career options and stunting a person’s earning potential. By completing a high school credential, Wednesday’s graduates have a brighter, more prosperous future ahead, Ballinger said. She also encouraged each graduate to share their story with others.
“After tonight, I hope each of you continue to inspire others with the story of how you achieved your high school credential,” Ballinger said.
Information sessions about LCCC’s Aspire program, including GED, 22+ adult high school diploma and other programs, will be held 6-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 19 at the Spitzer Conference Center and from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, August 20 at the LCCC Lorain Learning Center at City Center. For more information or to register for an information session, visit Aspire or call (440) 366-4530.