Wake Tech News


Adult Learners Triumph to Earn High School Credentials

RALEIGH, N.C. (May 4, 2024) – More than 100 graduates opened a new door of opportunity on Saturday when they earned high school equivalency credentials at Wake Tech.

Students in the Adult High School (AHS)High School Equivalency Preparation (HSEP) and High School Equivalency (HEP) programs were honored in a graduation ceremony at Wake Tech's Scott Northern Wake Campus.

Family and friends cheered proudly for the graduates, who made the difficult decision to return to school and overcame a variety of challenges to earn their high school credentials. The accomplishment required significant sacrifices for many of them who are also working and raising families.

Student speakers Grace Smith, Casandra Aguirre and Jaida Williams shared their inspiring stories with fellow graduates.

Smith said she was a procrastinator who struggled to focus in high school, but the support of her tutors and advisors at Wake Tech helped her cross the finish line.

"We may not have followed traditional timelines, but we have achieved a milestone that is just as noteworthy," she said. "It's easy to beat ourselves up over the redirections of life, but the thing to do now is to be proud of completing this program, to be proud of all that we have done and excited for all that we will become."

Aguirre, a Mexican American, worked alongside her parents tending tobacco, blueberry and strawberry fields to help provide for her family. She dropped out of high school after the first two years.

"I was lost; I didn't have anyone to guide me, and I wasn't thinking about my future. I didn't think education mattered. Now, I can proudly say I have my high school diploma, and I would like to become a social worker. I like to help people, and now I know it's possible."

Williams grew up in foster care, and moving from home to home led her to drop out. She eventually returned to school with the encouragement of her family, friends, and church. "I failed a few times, and obstacles were thrown at me, but, eventually, I prevailed," she said.

Encouraging her fellow graduates to never give up, Williams has plans to become a nursing assistant, with the goal of a future career as a nurse. "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop," she said.

Wake Tech's adult education programs, for students seeking to complete a high school equivalency credential, are offered year round. The tuition-waived preparatory courses are available in person and online. Students can work at their own pace but must pass official tests in reading, writing, math, science and social studies. 

The college also offers preparatory courses for migrant and seasonal farm workers and their families who wish to obtain high school equivalency credentials through the HEP program, made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Learn more about earning a high school equivalency credential and adult basic education programs at Wake Tech.

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April 2024

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