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October 31st, 2012

Adult students earn GED at Ulster BOCES graduation

Graduates Ken Preblich and Rajat Saha of Marlboro and Evan Rogers of Ellenville at the Ulster BOCES Adult Career Education Center during a special ceremony where 24 students received their GED.
PORT EWEN – Proud families and friends enthusiastically cheered 24 adult literacy students as they were awarded General Educational Development (GED) diplomas during an emotional evening ceremony held this October at the Ulster BOCES Adult Career Education Center. The graduates honored were members of a group of 96 Ulster BOCES GED students from around the region who were successful in completing diploma requirements during the 2011-2012 school year. Also recognized were six students who successfully completed ESL (English as a Second Language), during the 2011-2012 school year.

“It was a great program,” said Martin Farrell of Haines Falls, who wanted his GED diploma to improve his employment marketability. “Now I’m moving on to the Ulster BOCES Automotive Technology program.” His wife Maureen was there to watch him receive his diploma. “I’m so proud of him,” she said.

The GED test measures the academic skills and knowledge students are expected to acquire during four years of high school. Students are tested in five areas: reading, writing, social studies, science, and mathematics.

At the Ulster BOCES Adult Career Education Center, more than half of adult literacy students are between the ages of 20 and 40 years old. Most are full-time employees and caring for their families while they study for the GED test.

Twins Christiana and Jeffrey Walsh of Kingston could not contain their excitement. “It was a long road,” Christiana said. “I didn’t think we would ever get here, but then here we are!” Christiana is heading to Montana to try her hand at ranch life while her brother Jeffrey is about to start a new job at a local cable company.

Ellenville resident Sherrill Renee Maier’s story was especially poignant. She spoke about her struggle with alcoholism and her many failed attempts to obtain her GED diploma. “Now I’m in my third quarter at culinary school, studying French pastry, which I just learned is the second highest paying job [in culinary arts field] right now,” she said. “This is a great accomplishment for me. I’m so grateful for this opportunity and want to thank everyone who has supported me.”

In her address to the Ulster BOCES GED Class of 2011-2012, Mary Jalloh, director of Adult Education and Grants Development, lauded the hard work of students who had to balance parenthood, a job, and GED classes. “You’ve overcome many challenges,” she said. “You’ve given up time with loved ones, vacations, hanging out with the guys, and even sleeping. But the one thing you didn’t give up on was yourself.”

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