Adult education graduates celebrate reaching goals


June 21, 1999|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FRIENDS AND business partners Shirley Spencer and Gloria Wright have known for almost a year that they passed the General Education Diploma (GED) test, but it wasn't until they wore the caps and gowns and received their high school diplomas during a ceremony last week that they felt like true graduates.

Like other graduates, after the Adult Education Graduation Recognition Ceremony they threw a big party for family and friends.

More than 60 people celebrated at Kountry Kafe and Katering -- the Westminster business that Spencer and Wright have owned and operated for 13 years, and the place where they made a pact to do what it took to get high school diplomas.

A pretest revealed they were ready for the GED, but the friends "brushed up on geometry and biology," Spencer said, before taking the test in July.

"We needed to do it for ourselves," said Spencer. "Even with the successful business, we both decided we needed to get our diplomas. It took a lot of luck to get where we are, and not everyone is that lucky."

Joining Spencer and Wright during the June 11 ceremony were 42 other adults who earned their high school diplomas by attending evening high school, the GED program or the External Diploma Program, an at-home program. There were 134 adult graduates for 1998-1999.

The graduates who attended the ceremony were: Nancy Marie Barth, Melissa Benson, Scott E. Black, Tanya Bosley, Eric M. Bostian, Francis Wayne Brown, Kenneth Call, Kimberly Ann Chronister, Wendy Clark, Steve D. Cottom, Lisa M. Cramblitt, Dennis Dean, James M. DeCosmo, Sharon E. Donavin, Marthanell C. Easten, Eddie H. Ellinger, Ruby Fisher, Martin L. Fralin, Cory Gorman, Michael L. Greenwalt Sr., Sandy Grimes.

Also, Angela Hanson, Roberta Holland, Larry W. Jennings Jr., Deborah A. Jones, Jessica Kehoe, Juli L. Keiser, Jennifer N. Looney, Tammy L. Maus, Joseph C. Ogle, Brandie L. Rill, Lisa Rodriguez-Barros, Michele R. Safran, Jessica D. Sandel, Mala M. Singh, Dawn Spertzel, Dana Tasker, Dallas Trott, Angela Vogel, Judi Kay Wike, Xati Wright and Kelly Yingling.

Gorman, Donavin and DeCosmo, graduates of the evening high school program, the GED program, and the External Diploma Program, respectively, were speakers.

"Everyone is so proud of these graduates," said Robin Kujan, coordinator for External Diploma Program. "And the graduates were grateful to have the chance to graduate."

Young dream-maker

When Will Landon graduated from Friendship Valley Elementary School last month, he left with a bounty of awards for his artwork and writing.

Days before graduation, his parents, John and Jo Ann Landon, and his teachers learned that Will's work had earned perhaps his most prestigious award to date.

Forty pieces of artwork were selected from a 13-state region and Puerto Rico for a national Crayola Dream-Maker's Exhibition, and Will's rendition of a diving hat that he said will "allow scientists to get closer to marine life than ever before," was among the chosen few.

Will's drawing will be exhibited at the University of Maryland, College Park in December and January and then in government buildings in Washington. It will also be used for teaching. "My eyes widened when I found out that I won," said Will. "It was hard to take most of it in, like where my artwork was going. I felt like a batter in a batting cage with the wires going haywire."

Will's drawing and his explanation of the diving hat highlight his creative talent.

"The hat is part of an exploration diving suit that, for safety purposes, will have an activation voice code, allowing it to only respond to its true user," he said.

"It will also be equipped with an environmentally safe force shield and it will possess a multi-range underwater communication system, an endless water supply, and an aqua marine jet pack which runs on energy from the water itself," he added.

Will takes weekly art lessons from Hampstead artist Barbara Schnell.

He also credits his art teacher at Friendship Valley Elementary, Deborah Welle, for "coming up with great art projects [including mask making], for being understanding, and for not being very harsh."

Lisa Breslin's Central neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 6/21/99

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