The Recorder – GCC High School Equivalency Graduation Celebrates 40 Years

Posted: 2022-06-05 12:26:22

Modified: 05/06/2022 12:24:13 PM

GREENFIELD — Forty adult students who passed their high school equivalency test, now called HiSET, received their diplomas, along with citations from State Senator Jo Comerford, in a ceremony at Greenfield Community College on Friday.

The Literacy Project has helped more than 90 adult students pass their HiSET since the pandemic began, but Friday marked the first graduation ceremony held in person since 2019. The ceremony also included graduates from the Sheriff’s Office of Franklin County and students who tested on their own for the HiSET.

“Graduates, we believe in you, and now you can believe in yourself,” said Judith Roberts, executive director of The Literacy Project, in her speech. “You know you can set a goal and achieve it. … With degrees in your pocket, you can go to community college, vocational training programs, and better jobs.

Wyvonne Stevens-Carter, state director of adult education, was the keynote speaker, encouraging students to continue setting goals for success. GCC Acting President Richard Hopper, Franklin District 2nd Representative Susannah Whipps and Greenfield Mayor Roxann Wedegartner were in attendance. Five Literacy Project graduates shared their experiences. The ceremony was presided over by GCC Chief Examiner Kate Devlin.

Elizabeth Byrne, high school equivalency teacher for the Literacy Project in Greenfield, said

“Our students show up and do the work,” said Elizabeth Byrne, high school equivalency teacher for the Literacy Project in Greenfield, in a press release. “They are determined, resilient and hopeful for their future. It’s often in the little moments behind the scenes that that determination and resilience comes through. As a teacher at The Literacy Project, I am honored and grateful to bear witness to these moments.

“Our graduation is an opportunity to put our students first,” continued Byrne, “to fully celebrate their accomplishments, to celebrate their stories, to celebrate what’s to come.”

Melissa Levesque, mother of six and student at The Literacy Project in Orange, read a poem she dedicated to her teacher about going back to school:

“I signed up for classes

I struggled but pushed myself to the front of the line

I started finding the things that were once in the forefront of my mind

And learned some new skills

And ask me now about myself

I would answer how delighted

Glad to see how far I’ve come

And everything went well

And see the difference between yesterday and today

It’s really day and night.

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