News release from Fort Wayne Community Schools:
Continuing Ed Graduation Celebrates Successes
The Fort Wayne Community Schools Adult and Continuing Education Department will celebrate the success of 416 graduates at its Commencement Ceremony at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, at North Side High School.
Prior to the Commencement Ceremony the Literacy Alliance will host a reception from 6-6:45 p.m. at North Side. Seven graduating students will share their stories of how they came to the Adult and Continuing Education program at Anthis Career Center or a satellite site and reached their goal of earning a GED or high school diploma between January and December 2012. The program serves adult students of all ages, many of whom have endured educational and personal struggles on their road to graduation. This year’s speakers are:
Since fourth grade Courtney Conley has been in many schools – an average of two a year. Originally from Cedar Falls, Iowa, she moved to Fort Wayne with a friend 16 years ago. At 22, her son Drake was born, and she devoted her time to raising him. By the time he reached third grade he was doing so well that he didn’t need his mom as much. Courtney decided to return to earn her GED. She began in October 2011 and finished in March 2012 when she passed the GED test. Wanting to go to college and have a career motivated her to get the GED. Now, Courtney is studying criminal justice at Ivy Tech.
When she was 10 years old, Chavon Harris moved to Fort Wayne from Minneapolis with her mom. She attended Forest Park Elementary School, Lakeside Middle School and South Side High School. The obstacle to getting a diploma was the math ISTEP+ exam. Her senior year alone she tried four times to pass it. Without a diploma, Chavon was able to enroll at Ivy Tech but soon dropped out when she realized she wasn’t ready for college. She found a job selling Frontier Cable subscriptions, but after a year and a half, her job was eliminated. Despite this solid track record, no one would hire her. She decided to get her GED, which she received in December 2012. Chavon is now working and plans to return to Ivy Tech in May where she will take general education courses. Her desire is to transfer to IPFW’s School of Fine Arts to study photography.
Mang Kim Lian
Mang Kim Lian came to the United States in November 2009 and eventually moved to Fort Wayne to be with family. In January 2012, he began taking classes at Anthis Career Center where his biggest challenge was listening to and speaking English. He liked the classes and quickly became comfortable with support and help from his classmates. His teachers were patient and taught at the pace he needed to progress. By his second year at Anthis, his English was much improved. With his diploma, Kim now attends Ivy Tech full time with intentions of transferring to IPFW after two years where he plans to study either chemistry or biology with pre-med as a goal.
Hayley Morning’s routine as a home-school student required getting up at a certain time everyday and getting the day’s assignments done. With her mother as her teacher, Hayley did well. Class was dismissed once the day’s assignments were done, which was usually before traditional schools let out for the day. Her favorite subjects were history and science, with math being her toughest subject. While Hayley and her mom had routine, it was interrupted when her mother developed serious health issues. Hayley took care of her until her death in June 2011 – a year before Hayley earned her GED. Hayley is now pursuing a nursing career with the ultimate goal of becoming a doctor. She begins classes at IPFW in the fall. Though her mom can’t be at graduation, Hayley will be joined by her father, grandmother, aunts, uncle and her fiancÃ©, Ian, whom she will marry in October.
War prompted Wedad Omar to move from Darfur to the United States with her four brothers and two sisters. Her dad was already in Fort Wayne, and they came to live with him in January 2007. Wedad had never experienced such cold and snow, and the climate change was a shock. Because of the war, she was not able to finish high school in her native country where Arabic was the primary language. Instead, she enrolled at Anthis Career Center in the English as a Second Language program. She improved her English while taking high school classes. In time, she earned all the credits she needed and passed the required state tests. With her high school diploma, she now attends Ivy Tech with plans to transfer to IPFW. Her interest is in human services, and she ultimately wants a career where she can help people, especially people who come out of war. Wedad has worked at the YMCA and likes to volunteer with community organizations, including the Darfur Women’s Network and Burmese Advocacy Center. She has even grown to appreciate the winter weather and says the snow is beautiful now.
Butler native Andrea Robinett moved to Fort Waynew ith her dad when she was 18. She didn’t finish high school because of family issues and decided instead to get a job. She worked in a pizzeria then in a factory. Andrea always wanted to finish school and go to college. She and her husband have two children, Kaden and Kaylynn. Andrea decided that with her children in school it was time to get her GED. From the first day at Anthis Career Center, she saw how the teachers were passionate about the students getting their education. Though a little intimidated when she sat for the GED test in July 2012, she felt confident she could do it because her teachers had helped her prepare. Andrea is now enrolled in a nursing program and would eventually like to earn a master’s degree. When she told her college communications instructor about speaking at GED graduation, her instructor helped her to feel less nervous by assigning speeches to deliver in class.
Math was always hard for Chad Smith. To learn it required repetition and more repetition. When he got to Algebra his senior year in high school,Chaddecided to save himself embarrassment and withdrew from school. He worked in a restaurant and, though he had difficulty with math,Chadobserved and modeled what the managers did and worked his way up to general manager. With most of his employees being high school students, he believed one of his responsibilities was guiding and encouraging his staff to graduate. It seemed a bit hollow since he didn’t have his diploma so he decided to return for his GED. In January 2012, he started classes at The Literacy Alliance’sNew Haven Learning Center. After his years in management, the math seemed easier. He had learned the purpose and reasons for the math. The algebra and geometry were still challenging, and he devoted a lot of time studying them at home as well as in class. The work paid off.Chadis now a business major at Ivy Tech, and he plans to eventually open a restaurant of his own.
About Fort Wayne Community Schools
With nearly 31,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is Indiana’s largest school district. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 51 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.