The faculty and staff of the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) joined the families and friends of 23 Adult Education Program graduates on Nov. 16 to celebrate the students for returning to school and earning their Maryland high school diploma.
The CSM Adult Education Program offers fundamental courses covering basic reading, writing, and mathematics. These prepare driven students to take the GED test or complete the National External Diploma Program. The Adult Education program additionally offers English as a second language classes to supply students with basic English and life skills instruction for individuals whose native language is not English. Most classes offered by the CSM Adult Education Program are free because of support through grant funding by the Maryland Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Education, and local contributions.
“Let me be the first to congratulate our graduates this evening on achieving your diploma,” said CSM President Dr. Maureen Murphy during her commencement address. “For many of you, this is a moment that perhaps you thought was an impossible dream, yet it was a dream that inspired you to stretch yourself. And now look at you! You have achieved your dream, and you have inspired others who have watched you, coached you, and are here to celebrate your success!”
Murphy then announced that graduate Adrienne N. Jones was the recipient of the $250 Dr. Richard Fleming Scholarship. The award was given to Jones to assist her in furthering her education. Fleming, a former CSM vice president, worked tirelessly with the college’s Continuing Education and Workforce Development Program to make the college the provider for the Adult Basic Education/General Education Diploma (GED) program in Calvert and St. Mary’s counties.
The president then surprised all of the students when she announced that they would receive a $500 scholarship to continue their education at CSM.
“As you sit in your commencement regalia, your cap and gown, know that you also wear a robe of many colors,” shared guest speaker Maryland Department of Labor Director of Adult Education and Literacy Services Perketer Tucker. “You wear a robe that shows the colors of patience and perseverance you need to stay in the course. You wear a robe that shows the colors of desire and motivation necessary to maintain focus to achieve your goal. Lastly, you wear a robe that brightly shows the color of confidence. Confidence of knowing that if you believe it, you can achieve it.”
Keynote Speaker, Provost, and Vice President of CSM’s Division of Learning Dr. Rodney Redmond initially expressed his admiration for the graduates and their achievements with a quote by Edgar Guest, “someone said that it couldn’t be done, but he with a chuckle replied. Maybe it couldn’t, but he would not be one who’d say so until at least he tried.”
For the remainder of his remarks, Redmond told a story about fortitude, perseverance, courage, and tenacity and concluded that the attributes best described the graduates.
“These are our graduates tonight,” he said. “Fortitude, perseverance, courage, and tenacity led you to this point. They are now permanent parts of who you are. They will continue to serve you well as you continue your journey of success and a life filled with meaning.”
Adult Education Program Graduate Tracy Hurt of St. Mary’s County described the highs and lows of her academic journey and inspired her peers with a Marianne Williamson poem that her late mother shared with her. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,” she quoted. “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
Hurt encouraged her classmates to “shine like the bright stars you all are” and challenged them to further their academic careers – “because I know you can do it.” she shared.
Before proceeding across the stage to receive their diplomas, the graduates were honored with another surprise. Representatives from U.S. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer took the stage to also shake hands and offer each graduate a personalized certificate acknowledging their accomplishment from the congressman.
Below is the list of graduates who participated in the Fall 2022 Adult Education Program Graduation ceremony:
- Marquis Barnes
- Brenda Barron
- DeLainey Blanchard
- Stephanie Burch
- Albert Bussey III
- Mea Coates
- Candice Cobb
- Iesha Collins
- Thomas Dye
- Heather Foster
- Mary Fuller
- Tracy Hurt
- Adrienne Jones
- Earlisha Kent
- Christopher LaBille
- David Lipscomb Jr.
- Michael Mandley
- Stefany Manley
- Adrienne Parsons
- Alice Camargo Saura
- Audrey Sekpe
- Carina Shields
- Joseph Willet III
Click the link for more information about Adult Basic Education, GED preparation, or English as a second language instruction.