Mitchell GED graduates inspired to chase their dreams
BY KARISSA MILLER
Dressed in a traditional cap and black gown, Roger Conley of Statesville glanced over his shoulder and smiled at his family as they cheered for him on the Circle at Mitchell Community College on Thursday evening.
It was a moment, he said, that was seven years in the making.
Conley, who dropped out of high school at age 15, decided to go back to school after becoming a father. He wanted to give himself better career opportunities and set a good example for his 4-year-old son.
On Thursday, he was among nearly 40 students who received their General Education Development certificate during Mitchell’s GED graduation. More than 140 adults, ranging from age of 16 to 60, earned their GED, but not all were present for the ceremony.
Graduate speaker Kimberly Little, who earned her GED in 2012, said that she had thought about going back several times, but just didn’t make it a priority. Little said it wasn’t until much later that she realized the importance of an education.
“Never think you can’t do it,” she said, reminding them that the greatest weakness lies in giving up.
She earned her associate degree in criminal justice degree this year. She plans to pursue a four-year degree and hopes to eventually attend law school and become an attorney.
Mitchell Vice President for Student Services Porter Brannon was the featured speaker. She shared three key pieces of advice with the graduates: Keep naysayers out of your life. Embrace pain. Chase your dreams.
Mitchell Vice President for Continuing Education and Workforce Development Carol Johnson graciously thanked the college’s board of trustees and administrators for their continued support of the program. She also recognized the instructors for helping the GED graduates change their lives.
GED graduates who continue their education at Mitchell can take one occupational credit course at no cost, Mitchell President Tim Brewer told the students. That gift is made possible by the financial support of the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce.