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THE NEXT STEP

Adult Education program celebrates diverse group of graduates

 

Jessamine County residents turned out to support the GED graduates at the Jessamine County Adult Education Celebration of Lifelong Learning event held Thursday, June 28, at East Jessamine High School.

The Jessamine County Adult Education learning center, which currently shares a building with the Jessamine Early Learning Village, is in the process of moving from their Catnip Hill location to a new address at 851 Wilmore Road where they will be open as of Aug. 13.

Moses Radford, a longtime pastor of First Baptist Church in Nicholasville, gave the evening’s keynote address.

Radford is himself a GED recipient who is now a college graduate and holds several advanced degrees. Redford spoke about the devotion, determination and dedication required in reaching goals in life like a GED certificate.

“I’m amazed every year at the level of community support for the GED program,” Jessamine County Adult Education Program Director Mary Newton said.  “Everyone from Rep. Russ Meyer, Sen. Tom Buford,  Mayor Pete Sutherland, Judge-Executive David West, magistrates, commissioners, school board members and central office administrators all come together to cheer on our students.  It’s heartwarming and makes me so proud to call Jessamine County home.”

Lora Villasana, 23, said obtaining her GED certificate was something she should have done a long time ago.

“It was easier than I expected to get my GED certificate,” Villasana said. “It only took me about two weeks.”

With her certificate in hand, Villasana is aiming to be a medical assistant.

“After I become a medical assistant I might want to go into nursing, but for now I want to get a feel for what it’s like to work in a medical office and then I’ll make the decision about nursing,” Villasana said.

Gene Higgins, a 32-year-old mother of seven, was excited about her future after receiving her GED.

“This means so much for my self-pride and self-worth,” Higgins said. “A major goal for me is trying to get off of government assistance. The opportunity is there now. I’ll be able to take better care of my kids.”

Higgins praised the staff at Jessamine County Adult Education by saying, “They are very patient, they’ve been wonderful to me. I just love the atmosphere. Everybody cares about you and wants you to do better.”

Harley Dakota Lawson, 22, said earning his GED will provide him with better career options and allow him to get into the local sheet metal union. Currently he can participate in the apprenticeship program; however, the state requires he has a high school equivalency to join the union.

“There’s a lot of places where you have to at least have a high school education or a GED to get a job,” 18-year-old GED recipient Emily Patrick said. “And of course you’re not going to get into college either. It really opens up your job opportunities.”

Emily is still undecided on her career path after graduation.

“I’m stuck in between two things, either dermatology or something like social work,” Emily said.

Emily’s mother, Stephanie Patrick, said the people at Jessamine County Adult Education were extremely helpful, kind and understanding in helping her daughter obtain her GED.

“They got Emily in really quick and got her through the process boom, boom, and boom,” Stephanie said.

Newton said the center is excited to continue to serve the community from its new location.

“We know transportation is often an issue, and our new facility is much closer to the heart of Nicholasville.”

For more information call 859-887-9052.