CSM Celebrates 23 Graduates for Their Fortitude, Perseverance, Courage and Tenacity Upon Returning to School to Earn Their High School Diplomas

December 2, 2022

The faculty and staff of the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) joined the families and friends of 23 Adult Education Program graduates Nov. 16 to celebrate the students for returning to school and earning their Maryland high school diploma.  

The CSM Adult Education Program offers fundamental education courses that cover areas such as basic reading, writing, and mathematics, all of which prepare driven students to take the GED test or complete the National External Diploma Program. The Adult Education program additionally offers English as a second language classes to supply students with basic English and life skills instruction for individuals whose native language is not English. Most classes offered by the CSM Adult Education Program are free on account of support through grant funding by the Maryland Department of Labor, the U.S Department of Education, and local contributions.

“Let me be the first to congratulate our graduates this evening on achieving your diploma”, said CSM President Dr. Maureen Murphy during her commencement address. “For many of you, this is a moment that perhaps you thought was an impossible dream; but, yet, it was a dream that inspired you to stretch yourself. And now look at you! You have achieved your dream, and even more, you have inspired others who have watched you, coached you, and are here to celebrate your success!”

Murphy then announced that graduate Adrienne N. Jones was the recipient of the $250 Dr. Richard Fleming Scholarship. The award was given to Jones to assist her in her journey to furthering her education. Fleming, a former CSM vice president, worked tirelessly with the college’s Continuing Education and Workforce Development Program to make the college the provider for the Adult Basic Education/General Education Diploma (GED) program in Calvert and St. Mary’s counties.

The president then surprised all of the students when she announced that every one of them would be receiving a $500 scholarship to continue their education at CSM.

“As you sit in your commencement regalia, your cap and gown, know that you also wear a robe of many colors,” shared guest speaker Maryland Department of Labor Director of Adult Education and Literacy Services Perketer Tucker. “You wear a robe that shows the colors of patience and perseverance you needed to stay in the course. You wear a robe that shows the colors of desire and motivation necessary to maintain focus to achieve your goal. Lastly, you wear a robe that brightly shows the color of confidence. Confidence of knowing that if you believe it, you can achieve it.”

Keynote Speaker, Provost and Vice President of CSM’s Division of Learning Dr. Rodney Redmond initially expressed his admiration for the graduates and their achievements with a quote by Edgar Guest, “someone said that it couldn’t be done, but he with a chuckle replied. Maybe it couldn’t, but he would not be one who’d say so until at least he tried.”

For the remainder of his remarks, Redmond told a story about fortitude, perseverance, courage, and tenacity and concluded that the attributes best described the graduates.

“These are our graduates tonight,” he said. “Fortitude, perseverance, courage, and tenacity led you to this point. They are now permanent parts of who you are. They will continue to serve you well as you continue your journey of success and a life filled with meaning.”

Adult Education Program Graduate Tracy Hurt, of St. Mary’s County, described the highs and lows of her academic journey and inspired her peers with a Marianne Williamson poem that her late mother shared with her. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,” she quoted. “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

Hurt encouraged her fellow classmates to “shine like the bright stars you all are” and challenged them to further their academic careers – “because I know you can do it.” she shared.

Before proceeding across stage to receive their diplomas, the graduates were honored with another surprise. Representatives from U.S. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer took the stage to also shake their hands and offer each graduate a personalized certificate acknowledging their accomplishment from the congressman.

Below is the list of graduates who participated in the Fall 2022 Adult Education Program Graduation ceremony:

Marquis Barnes

Brenda Barron

DeLainey Blanchard

Stephanie Burch

Albert Bussey III

Mea Coates

Candice Cobb

Iesha Collins

Thomas Dye

Heather Foster

Mary Fuller

Tracy Hurt

Adrienne Jones

Earlisha Kent

Christopher LaBille

David Lipscomb Jr.

Michael Mandley

Stefany Manley

Adrienne Parsons

Alice Camargo Saura

Audrey Sekpe

Carina Shields

Joseph Willet III

For more information about Adult Basic Education, GED preparation, or English as a second language instruction, please visit https://www.csmd.edu/programs-courses/non-credit/adult-basic-education/index.html.

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