Bullying, young motherhood, substance abuse and shattering molds were among the reasons cited by the latest group of GED earners for rerouting their educational journeys. Courage and hard work got them all to the graduation stage May 18 at Yavapai College.
“There were many times that I wanted to give up, convincing myself that if I failed my tests, then it wasn’t meant to be,” 46-year-old Jennifer Trisdale said in an address to fellow GED earners and audience members gathered in the YC Performing Arts Center. “Well I failed many, many times. Each time I became a little wiser, a little stronger and a little more brave. You see, my test wasn’t about passing. My test was about persevering. For every single time I had failed, I was succeeding. I hadn’t just become a student, I had become fearless.”
GED earner Justin Kelly shares a smile with a young wellwisher.
Trisdale said her teen-age daughter telling her “You Can” inspired her to “show up” and get her GED. “…I realized my daughter had faith in me when I didn’t even have faith in myself.”
Trisdale of Dewey was one of 180 Yavapai County residents who obtained their GEDs, many with assistance from YC’s Adult Basic Education program. Approximately 40 GED earners participated in the award ceremony that also featured speeches from students Alexandra Barr of Prescott Valley and JoDe Ann Moore of Sedona.
GED earner JoDe Moore of Sedona gets a congratulatory hug from a fellow graduate.
Barr told fellow graduates earning a GED “opens doors of opportunity to continue growing and learning new skills that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.” Moore talked of her “great math battle-- ” a battle that she won after initially testing at a fourth-grade level. Earning a GED at age 51, Moore said, has given her the confidence to “start a new life” and pursue her dream of working in the rehabilitation field.
Mark Frederick, a YC ABE Instructor, said in his heartfelt remarks that GED students have taught him a lot about respect, intelligence and hope. He said GED instructors need to earn the respect of their students, that most GED students are as smart or smarter than many college students and that “every GED student – every single one – has a fire of hope inside and as success follows success it burns brighter.” He implored the graduates “to go and see in others what you have taught me to see in you – respect, smarts and hope.”
YC President Dr. Lisa Rhine also spoke at the GED award ceremony, telling the graduates to take pride in achieving a personal milestone that required courage and commitment and “one that proves all things are possible.”
Dr. Rhine encouraged the GED earners to continue investing in their educations. “The courage and commitment you have demonstrated in achieving this goal are exactly the characteristics that you need to continue your education beyond today. Yavapai College is ready when you are to help you to continue your educational journey.“
For more information about Adult Basic Education at YC, or English as a Second Language, visit www.yc.edu/ABE.
Following are the GED Earners who participated in the May 18 award ceremony at the YCPAC.
- Sylvia Coke and Ignacio Mejia of Camp Verde
- Janell Canuel and Shayna Granillo of Chino Valley
- Jocelynn Graham of Coolidge
- Emily Crane, Calista Newell, Brieanna Sincleair, Jennifer Wilson, Christopher Brunner and Jessikah Bonner of Cottonwood
- Jonathan Vernon, Jennifer Trisdale, Clarineth Miller and Tiffany McKinley of Dewey
- Rachell Lueck, Lauren Harris and Zoey Ross of Prescott
- Elizabeth Ameral, Deborah Atkinson, Francesca Cesarini, Alexandra Chester Barr, Leighann Hjelm, Gayle Koehn, Grant Matsuda, Heather Murphy, Stephen Norris, Kassidy Nunnally, Kayla Self, Theodore Simpson, Destanie Reid, Heather Dodson, Nany Garcia Arellano, Justin Kelly, Stephanie Morningstar, Maribel Bugarin, Garett Allen and Gabriella Caratachea of Prescott Valley
- Mia Strydom of Rimrock
- JoDe Moore of Sedona