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PJC Adult Education holds recognition ceremony

Published or Revised June 13, 2019

Adult Education Graduation Spring 2019

Keynote speaker for the ceremony was Maddie Ellsworth of Clarksville, who received her GED in 2016 and is about to graduate from PJC. Receiving Paris Outreach Scholarships were, from left, Sean Lehenbauer,  Payton Foster, Christopher Hayes, and Amy Beth Perry. Foster also received the United Way scholarship. Inducted into the National Adult Education Honor Society were, from left, Sean Lehenbauer, Payton Foster, and Ashlee Bryan.

The Paris Junior College Adult Education program held a graduation ceremony for all those successfully achieving their Certificates of High School Equivalency during the preceding 12 months on Tuesday, May 14, 2019.

Speaker for the ceremony was Maddie Ellsworth, who was home schooled and received her GED certificate on May 16, 2016. A current PJC student, she was one of five nominated for the Distinguished Service Award. Winner of the highest honor a PJC student may achieve will be announced during Friday’s commencement ceremony. Ellsworth admitted that she “Googled” what to say in a graduation speech, but only found advice for those who were 21 years old.

“Oh shoot,” she said, “I’m not even 21 yet. How am I supposed to give advice and encourage people who may be older and have more life experience than me?” She sought such advice at a local nursing home, asking residents what they would say to those who have just accomplished something great and are moving to the next stage of their lives.

“The answers varied, but all carried a similar theme of the importance of finding what you love and doing it,” said Ellsworth. She also related the residents’ regrets in not pursuing their dreams more aggressively. Finally, she addressed the perceived stigma against those who have earned their GED.

“My mother kept a wooden plaque containing a quote by Sir Walter Scott, the famous author of ‘Ivanhoe.’ It reads, ‘All men who have turned out worth anything have had the chief hand in their own education.” Ellsworth said. “This quote has been a staple of my life, and it is a reflection of everyone who has completed their GED. The true stereotype of GED graduates should be that they are dedicated and responsible because they took matters into their own hands and had a ‘chief hand in their own education.’”

Next, Payton Foster received the $250 United Way Scholarship, awarded to a Lamar County resident with the highest GED scores participating in the PJC Adult Education Program, and who plans to attend PJC. Lamar County Literacy Council member DeWayne Stephens presented the scholarship.

Paris Outreach Scholarships were presented by Career Navigator / Transition Specialist Maria Nava. She explained that the scholarships were made possible by a group of anonymous donors who want to help adult learners reach their goals. Christopher Hayes, Sean Lehenbauer, and Amy Beth Perry each received $500 and Payton Foster was awarded $750 in scholarships.

Ashlee Bryan, Payton Foster and Sean Lehenbauer were also inducted into the National Adult Education Honor Society. Students must be nominated by an instructor and agree to be an adult education ambassador, encouraging others to improve their basic skills, take adult education classes and demonstrate a strong work ethic.

Those receiving their Certificate of High School Equivalency in the past 12 months, by home town, included:

Avery: Dylan Gott
Bonham: Nicholas Hollingsworth
Brookston: Payton Foster, Sean Lehenbauer, April Schumacher
Clarksville: Bryan Dunn, Brandi Escandon, Keyanna Murphy
Commerce: Judy Alvarez
Como: Logan Oxford
Cooper: Nevin Casey, Jessica Odell, Rebecca Roush
Detroit: Cade Hines, Taiwa Kruse, Kathlene Unruh
Emory: Stephanie Holder, Dylan Simmons
Greenville: Mieshea Collins, Lindsey Cotton, Savannah Krantz, Bradley Williams
Honey Grove: Brianne Cannon
Leesburg: Makayla Goodson
Paris: Jeffery Barnard, Elvira Emanuelsson, Marlen Flores, Kayla Freelen, Adalberto Garcia, Lola Gilder, Kyler Haagensen, Yorrie Harrell, Chris Hayes, Joshua Johnson, Elin Knutsson, Jason McKee, Bradlee Murray, Amy Beth Perry, Micah Piland, Cortlyn Polley, Shawna Pool, Autiumn Price, Olivia Ratliff, Brooklyn Rose, Christiaan VanGraan, Jaquan Washington, Zachary McAlpin
Pickton: Alina Barth, Shad Griner
Quinlan: Ashlee Bryan, Clayton Paul
Reno: Benjamin Mercaldo
Royce City: Seth Prince
Saltillo: Rebekah Ridens
Sherman: Morgan Kuszynski
Sulphur Springs: Willie Black, III, Ragan Box, Madisyn Franks, Richard Hatfield, Jimmy Johnson, Andrew Latham, Gabriel Pollard
Sumner: Clifford Bailey, Jr., Brooks Dennis, Devin Elmore, Leanna Harms, Ashleigh Lopez-Basinger, Jacqueline Wiebe
West Tawakoni: Jason S. Lee
Windom: James Green
Wolfe City: Joseph Sandquist
Wylie: Elaine Eriksen
Yantis: Jessica Hanna

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