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Adult education students graduate from program

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By Jesef Williams

Tameeka Stevens was greeted with hugs and cheers from family members and other loved ones at her graduation May 27.

Stevens was elated about completing the Lancaster County School District’s adult education program and earning her GED (General Educational Development), but she was sad because a close friend wasn’t alive to see it.

Stevens’ best friend, Lashuntaya Hall, was killed in a car accident two years ago. Before then, Stevens pledged to her that she was going to earn her diploma.

She considered Hall her main source of motivation.

“I always told her I was going to graduate,” an emotional Stevens said. “That was my promise to her.”

Stevens was one of about 30 people to walk across the stage last week at the adult education graduation ceremony, held at the Lancaster High School auditorium.

Like Stevens, many of this year’s graduates dropped out of high school in the ninth grade. Some went straight to work, but later realized they need more education to secure a good job.

Kathy Jones, 50, said that was her situation.

The Lancaster native quit school in the ninth grade and then worked for Springs Industries for more than 20 years before her job was moved overseas.

With no luck finding a decent job, Jones decided to enroll in adult education. She said her faith in God allowed her to complete the problem.

“If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know where I’d be today,” Jones said.

Now she’s enrolled at York Technical College, with hopes of one day working somewhere in health and human services, possibly as a child advocate.

Supporting one another

There were two sets of spouses who graduated from Lancaster County Adult Education – Jerry and Beth Hilliard and Mark and Sandy Hildreth.

Mark Hildreth had long wanted to go back to school. He said having his wife go through the program with him made things a lot easier.

They helped each other with work and were there to provide support when the other got discouraged.

“We stuck together as a team,” Sandy Hildreth said. “It worked out good.”

Mark Hildreth advises anyone thinking about adult education to put your reservations aside and realize how beneficial it will be to your future.

“It’s a second chance for anybody who’ll take the opportunity to do it,” he said. “You have to grasp it and run with it.”

List of graduates

The following is a list of the Lancaster County School District’s 2009 adult education program graduates. Many of these students took part in the program’s annual graduation ceremony last week.

Charlie Anderson, Loma Rushing Anthony, Stacie Dianne Baker, Edna Louise Bennett, Keith Benson, Malcolm Jamar Benson, Jennifer Lynn Blackmon, Barbara A. Blakeney, Sherry Brooks, Faith Michelle Bryson, Rachel Ann Carter, Nicholas Leo Caskey, Brittany Kay Chesser, Richard Amos Clemmer, Victoria Noel Craig, Julie Bell Cousar, Kayla Nicole Denton, Erica Kay Easler, Joshua Michael Fleming, Brett Robin Geldenhuys, Elista Lavonne Gordon, Larry G. Hayes, Jordan Alexandria Helms, Reggie Scott Hinson, Mark Griggs Hildreth, Sandra Banks Hildreth, Beth Ann Hilliard, Jerry Wade Hilliard, Mark Holmes, Daniel Horton, Kimberly Dawn Horton, Kenterious L. Jackson, Kathy Adams Jones, Teresa F. Jones, Shannon Renee Kelsey, Angela Whitaker Kirk, Victoria Michelle Lee, Roger A. Little Jr., Robin W. Mackey, Latoya Monique Massey, Amber McGee, Nichlaus Dale McManus, Felicia A. Montgomery Messer, Ashley Marie Moser, Neshawn R. Nelson, Amy Michelle Noles, Michelle Page Parnell, Brandie Lynn Pelkey, Brandi E. Phillips, Tabitha Dove Ray, Alexia Rosa, Steven Michael Rouse, Kerry Dean Sanders Jr, Dillon K Sellers, Teresa A. Sims, Mabel R. Simmons, Robin Sistare Stalls, Tameeka M. Stevens, Tawanda Tamika Stewart, Katrina Stover, Jessica Lynn Sutton, Tyler Lee Threatt, Africa Simone’ Truesdale, Haley Elizabeth Truesdale, Michael Vincent, Gina N. Williams, Michael Todd Williams, Alonzo Phillip Witherspoon, Jason R. Wylie

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1152