Testing protocol to change as of January 2, 2014.
The evening of July 30 was an opportunity for Southwestern Community College’s General Equivalency Development (GED) and Adult High School (AHS) graduates to celebrate their accomplishments.
It was also a time to get challenged.
“Don’t stop here,” Luis “Nino” Huayamave told his fellow graduates. “This isn’t the end. Let’s keep going.”
The 37-year-old father of six was talking about pursuing collegiate degrees beyond a GED, but his message is especially timely for anyone who’s been putting off completing their high school equivalency.
Due to new state guidelines, the entire GED testing process is being overhauled starting on Jan. 2. That means people who’ve completed between one and four of the test’s five current sections will lose that credit and have to start all over again.
Carole Langford, an educational opportunities instructor at SCC, hopes Huayamave’s story will inspire others who’ve been putting off completing their GED to get back in school and finish just like the 81 students who earned their diplomas (79 earned a GED, two earned an AHS) through SCC this summer.
“We have a lot of students like that,” Langford said. “They start, but then life happens. They don’t always have the encouragement some students have to stay in school. But they come back. I can think of several students who’ve been trying to work on their GED for three or four years. They come back, and we try to motivate them.
“We sent letters to all the students who’ve started but not completed their GED,” Langford added. “They’re going to lose all that (after Jan. 2), so we’re encouraging them to come back and pick up where they left off.”
That’s what Huayamave did starting last spring.
A native of New York City, he dropped out of high school in 1994 and started working toward his GED several times but never saw it through to completion until now.
Through SCC’s “Pathways” program, Huayamave completed SCC’s Nursing Assistant certificate program while simultaneously earning his GED diploma – all at no cost.
“From Day 1, I could see his perseverance,” said Debby Allen, an educational opportunities instructor at SCC. “He was extremely determined to complete it this time. Being in the ‘Pathways’ program, it’s not just the GED. He was also enrolled in college-level courses at the same time.
“Every single one of our students wanted to complete it, and they did,” Allen continued. “I’m extremely proud of all our graduates. This is the culmination of all their effort.”
Huayamave, who moved to Western North Carolina in 2006, plans to follow his own advice and pursue his Registered Nurse (RN) degree starting in the fall of 2014. For now, he’s working at Grandview Manor as a CNA-II and medication aid technician.
“It’s very hard living from paycheck to paycheck,” said Huayamave, who was cheered on Tuesday by fiancée Dawn Cooper and three of his children: Destiny (age 9), Giovann (10) and Alyssa (11). “Without an education, jobs are hard to find. And the ones you get don’t always work out.”
“Completing my GED was not an easy task; we had to sacrifice a lot. We were able to have food, a roof over our heads and clothes,” he added. “I did it for my family. The number one thing is I didn’t want my kids turning around and coming to me in a couple years and saying, ‘Why should we have to finish school if you didn’t?’”
List of Graduates
Adult High School
Melody Milner, Jonquil Murphy-Kral
General Education Development
Alma Acevedo, Bruce Anderson, Debra Anderson, Sharon Anderson, Wahnetah Bernhisel, Jacob Bigwitch, Zachary Bombay, Bernabe Borhorquez, Lorenzo Borhorquez, Marcelino Borhorquez, Kimberly Bramlett, Spurgeon Brown, Amanda Buchanan, Johnny Burch, Katee Cagle, Bessie Chambers, Ancella Chism, Hildegarde Crowe, Justin Crowner, Candace Dills, Lisa DuBose, Richard Ellis, Johnathan Ford, Courtney Franklin, Cassie Genawese, Cody George, Dale German, Waylon Hardegree, Troy Harline, Keri Hatton, Steven Hood, Luis Huayamave, Amanda Jefford, Jonathan Jewell, Nicholas Jones, Kamilla Kirby, Megan Klatt, Heath Leggett, Trevis Legion, Tammy Lequire, Heather Lovett, Tasha Martinez, Eva Mashburn, Austin McCall, Paz Merino, Christopher Miller, Clinton Mills, Jeremy Moore, Steven Moore, Alex Morgan, Brittany Nevlud, Josue Otero, Jessica Owl, Travis Parcher, Jessica Pinette, Raymond Ramirez, Corinthian Rattler, Tierra Rattler, Maria Rios-Mendoza, Charlene Rodriguez, Filimon Roman, Wayne Roper, Maria Rubio, Raelynn Russell, Anthony Saunooke, Tyler Shelton, Christian Smith, Joshua Stephens, Pat Thomas, Fabian Valenzia, Amber Walker, Cindy Weed, Nathan Wells, John West, Rachel Wiggins, Nicholas Williamson, Zack Winchester and Jorden Yarborough.