by jamesc 5/23/2014 10:55:04 AM --
NORFOLK – 34 students out of 116 graduates were honored at Northeast Community College in Norfolk recently during the 38th Annual Adult Education Recognition Night. The students were honored for completing the requirements to receive a Nebraska high school diploma through the GED ® (General Educational Development) tests administered by Northeast’s Adult Education Program.
The program included a welcome by Dr. Michael Chipps, Northeast president. Nancy Schultz, director of adult education at Northeast, recognized the group and presented the Class of 2014. The Adult Education Program honorees make up the third largest high school graduating class in Northeast’s 20-county service area.
Wayne Erickson, dean of institutional advancement, announced the recipients of the Northeast Adult Education Deans’ Scholarships. This scholarship is a $500, one-time award that the Adult Education Department grants to students who plan to attend Northeast Community College on a full-time basis after completing the Northeast Adult Education program requirements and earning his /her state of Nebraska high school diploma.
Deans’ Scholarship winners were Melissa Leistman, Elgin; Enriqueta Saldana, Madison; April Buck, Neligh; Jeffery Caauwe, Benjamin D. Klabunde, and Brandon Messerly; Norfolk, Sheila Ferris and Lam Kang Jock; South Sioux City; and Patsy Kay Martin, Stanton.
Two individuals were given special recognition for their contributions to the success of the Adult Education program. Senami Guedou, English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor in South Sioux City and an ABE/GED instructor in Winnebago, was honored as Instructor of the Year. Jo Lux, ABE/GED and ESL volunteer tutor at Madison, was recognized as Volunteer of the Year.
Dr. Karen Severson, vice president of students at Northeast, was the featured speaker during the ceremony. She told the students there are two very good reasons to continue their education. “In less than five years, 65-67 percent of all new jobs will require a college credential. And according to the U.S. Department of Labor, over the next ten years, there will be more jobs available to those with community college credentials versus the jobs available to those with a four-year college education,” she said. “There are more than three million livable wage jobs in the in the United States that are presently unfilled because students are not entering the fields or obtaining the skills, instruction, and credentials that are required for 21st century jobs.”
Severson said the second reason has to do with wages. “Students with community college certificates, diplomas, and degrees in up-and-coming career fields, have significantly higher starting salaries than students with bachelor’s degrees.”
Severson encouraged the students to continue their education. “Earning a college credential after high school graduation is necessary in today’s world for long term success. Individuals who earn a two-year degree will earn up to $500,000 more than those without a community college credential. Those earning a community college degree or certificate are more likely to be hired and less likely to become unemployed than those without a college credential.”
Severson praised the students for taking the initiative to obtain their GED®. “Each of you has overcome challenges to be seated here tonight. You are about to begin a new way of life. Expect more of yourself. Decide what you can achieve. Make a plan and modify it many times and then keep your eye on the ultimate goal,” she said. “Don’t let your educational journey end here. Whatever college you choose, I challenge you to make a life changing decision: keep learning!”
Student speaker Enriqueta Saldana said she didn’t know English when she came to America from Mexico in 1985. She said she worked extremely hard to learn the language and attended schools in Chicago, California and through Northeast Community College. She became an American citizen in 1998. “It took me a long time to accomplish earning my GED®, but I never quit working hard and I did it!”
Saldana encourages people to attend GED® classes and work toward their education. “I know we are all busy, but you need to believe you can make a difference. There are so many programs at Northeast (Community College) with people willing to help you to get where you want to go. It is never too late to learn. Remember, learning never stops!”
Saldana is currently employed by Madison Public Schools where her job allows her “the opportunity to help students, teachers, and the community come together.”
The honorees, listed first by hometown, included:
Bloomfield - Kathy Bruce, Richard Bruce, Clarkson - Samantha Harrison, Elgin - Melissa Leistman, Emerson - Rebecca Morrison, Madison - Enriqueta Saldana, Neligh - April Buck, Kelsey Dreger
Norfolk - Tre Michael Alder, Amanda L. Brooks, Jeffery Caauwe, Melissa Lynne Clinch, Briana Marie Garcia, Daniel L. Graae, Jr., Brandon James, Brittany Jaras, Christina Jaras, Joaquin Jaras, Jr., Benjamin D. Klabunde, Brandon Messerly, Linda Pineiro, Nitasha Leigh Rath, Travis Reed, Harley Siedschlag, O'Neill - Nikie Dye, Margaret Ann Nendza, Pilger - Kevin LaWayne Wendt II, Plainview - Jayson Weaver, South Sioux City - Rony F. Carrera Moran, Sheila Ferris, Lam Kang Jock, Stanton - David Aric William Kuester, Patsy Kay Martin.
Sheboygan, WI - Elizabeth Vasquez
For more information about Northeast’s Adult Education program, contact Schultz at (402) 844-7255.
Enriqueta Saldana, Madison, is congratulated by Dr. Michael Chipps, president of Northeast Community College, during the 38th Annual Adult Education Recognition Night recently. The 116 students eligible to participate in the recognition night make up the third largest high school graduating class in Northeast’s 20-county service area. After receiving her Nebraska high school diploma through the GED ® (General Educational Development) tests administered by Northeast’s Adult Education (AE) Program, Saldana, who works at Madison Public Schools, will continue her education at Northeast.