The Guam Community College held a commencement ceremony for the 34 graduates who recently completed Adult High School and High School equivalency.
The graduation was held on Saturday, Dec. 14, at the GCC Multipurpose Auditorium.
Of the 34 graduates, 30 completed the Adult High School program and four passed the Adult Equivalency exam to receive their high school diploma.
The ceremony is traditionally held along with the commencement ceremony for all graduates in May, but participants requested a separate ceremony to celebrate their accomplishment.
Popular Guam media personality Chris “Malafunkshun” Barnett was the
Alumnus inspirational speaker for the graduation ceremony.
In her welcoming remarks to the graduates, GCC President, Dr. Mary Okada encouraged them, “You have all demonstrated your resilience and commitment to complete your respective programs. Some of you had barriers to break down, and you prevailed. It’s time for you to venture out into the world of work with this new tool in your hand. But, remember, that the college is here to move you forward to the next level. Don’t give up the opportunity that is before you to continue your education.”
According to Ava Garcia, Program Manager for GCC’s Adult High program, participants in the graduation ranged from 16 years of age into their 40s. Many faced challenges that could easily have deterred them from pursuing their diplomas, such as homelessness, conflicting employment schedules, difficulty arranging childcare, and lack of transportation.
Another big deterrent for participants is being to put their pride aside to come back and earn their diplomas, yet all of them overcame those challenges and completed the program.
“For some people graduating from high school is the end of the road but for others, and looking out at you guys, I see that it is the beginning of a new journey. And I’ve been there.”
Chris Barnett shared his own educational experience with the graduates.
“You know, life throws you curveballs and I think that a lot of people take something like graduating from high school for granted but a lot of us are dealt a bad hand. Life happens. But when I look out at you guys I know that when you come up to get your diploma, that although you will be walking on stage by yourself, that there are a lot of people standing behind you,” Barnett said.
Along with Garcia, the GCC Adult Education program staff includes Program Coordinators Darwin Joker and Jaclyn Pereda, Administrative Aide Kiana Corcuera, faculty member John Pereda, Adult High School Counselor Patricia Terlaje, and Adult High School Advisors Rosemarie Nanpei, Sharon Oliveros, and Anthony Roberto.