June 16, 2016, Pottstown, Pa.—Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) General Education Diploma (GED) program reached a milestone during its annual graduation ceremony on June 15. Among the 61 individuals who earned their diplomas was the program’s 1,000th graduate.
Introduced in 2006, MCCC’s six-week GED program is among the most accelerated in the state. Students spend one week of intensive study in each GED subject—reading and language arts, science, social studies and math—then they take the respective test. The program alternates between day and evening classes every six weeks to accommodate as many students as possible.
The GED program and tests are free to Montgomery County residents, thanks to generous sponsorship from Montco Works, Montgomery County’s Workforce Investment Board. The program costs $100 for out-of-county students.
Sixty-one students graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s GED program on June 15, 2016. Included in this class is the program’s 1,000th graduate. Photo by Sandi Yanisko
At least 20 of this year’s graduates are already enrolled in credit courses at MCCC. Graduate speaker Timothy Ream, of Schwenksville, is one of them.
“In the last nine months, I have accomplished more than I did in nine years,” Ream told the audience of graduates, family and friends during his remarks. “I’m currently taking summer classes at Montco, and I have a 3.5 GPA. I know it’s not a 4.0, but it’s better than the 0.6 GPA I left high school with.”
Following his emotion-filled speech, Ream surprised GED Program Coordinator Ed Sasek by presenting him with a plaque on behalf of the graduates.
“This man has dedicated his whole life to adult education,” shared Ream.
Timothy Ream was selected as the 2016 student speaker. Photo by Sandi Yanisko
MCCC Assistant Professor of Geography Samuel Wallace provided the keynote address, during which he shared the story of his father, who earned his GED after surviving polio.
“My father never attended a year of school, not uncommon in a 1940s Kansas dustbowl,” he said. “After surviving polio, he realized he would never again make money with his legs and back. He got a GED and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in science and engineering.”
Wallace shared that his father wrote the first set of guidelines for federal highway maintenance.
“Your career is not the one you thought you would have when you were 16. A GED is one way to get a second strike at the ball. It’s your jumpstart,” he said.
Janet Rojas, youth research and performance coordinator for Montco Works, presented the graduates with their diplomas. She was joined by Dr. David DiMattio, vice president of the West Campus; Nicole Henderson, dean of student affairs; and Peggy Schmidt, chair of the Workforce Investment Board Youth Council.
Montgomery County Community College GED graduates throw their caps in the air after their group photo on June 15, 2016 at the College’s West Campus in Pottstown. Photo by Sandi Yanisko
In her closing remarks, Schmidt drew applause with a reference to ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” television show.
“You, tonight, have in your hands your own Mirrorball Trophy,” said Schmidt. “You are on the steps of an exciting future. So get out and DANCE!”
To learn more about the GED program or GED testing services, visit mc3.edu/adm-fin-aid/ged.
- Alana J. Mauger