Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"The potential is always within us. I think we are good enough to get what we want in life."--GCC Middle College's Nathan Leon Guerrero

Student Nathan Leon Guerrero delivered a stirring speech, then he and 14 other Germanna Community College students received awards at Monday night's Middle College Reception & Awards Ceremony at GCC's Riverside Center.

Middle College is a free program that prepares students who didn't finish high school, often due to hardships, to earn their GEDs and enter degree programs. In the program's eight years of existence at Germanna, it has prepared 550 students to go on to get their GEDs and put them on the path.

Guerrero noted that some disparagingly call GEDs "Good Enough Degrees." "The potential is always within us," he said in his speech. "I think we are good enough to get what we want in life." He called Middle College "One key that opens the gates for everything."

GCC Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Services Ann Woolford congratulated the students and urged them to continue their educations. "We hope you continue the journey," she said. "This is just the beginning." Dr. Woolford recalled that when she was a student, some asked her when she would finish school and she was embarrassed to say she "had no idea." "Those same people spent their time watching 'I Love Lucy' reruns and going nowhere in life. We want you to have careers." Dr. Woolford noted that those who have college degrees earn twice as much as high school dropouts.

Middle College Director Carolyn Bynum noted that the August earthquake that damaged the Dickinson Building at GCC's Fredericksburg Area Campus and forced the Middle College program to move to Riverside posed a hardship for many Middle College students. The program shrunk from 40 students to 15. She praised those who endured changed schedules and had to find a way to get to Stafford County for classes.

"My sincerest congratulations to all my students for their accomplishments," in the face of the difficulties the move created, Bynum said.

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