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Five adult high school graduates honored

Adult High School graduates honored

June 2019 graduates and instructors from right to left: Instructor Ricarda Drummer, Kerie Zierstorf, Nicholas Sam, Keaton Thorn, Jana Kapayou-Bear, Maria Ibarra, and instructor Kathy Siebring. Several others earned their diplomas but could not attend due to work or family scheduling conflicts.

Five graduates were recognized at the adult high school equivalency graduation ceremony at Marshalltown Community College last week. The graduates received letters of congratulations presented by Jon Nunez, Iowa Valley’s Director of Adult Literacy Programs, and a short commentary was read by instructor Kathy Siebring regarding each graduate’s future plans.

Nicholas Sam said his biggest challenge was motivating himself to get the work done, and he thanked his entire family for their encouragement; he plans to take additional classes in welding or engineering. Jana Kapayou-Bear said her biggest challenge was math and missing work while she attended classes, and she said she was inspired and encouraged by her family, especially Sean A. Bear and her five children: Cherilyn, Adam, Grant, Kelvin and Lyrise. Jana is employed at Red Earth Gardens and plans to continue working there as well as continuing her education at Marshalltown Community College.

Maria Ibarra said her biggest challenge was starting from scratch with math and science, and that she was inspired by her daughter not to leave the challenge unfinished. Maria encourages others to never give up, saying she failed four times before finally passing the tests, but she was successful in the end.

Keaton Thorn said the essays were his greatest challenge, and that he plans to continue seeking a better paying job. Kerie Zierstorf thanked her family and teachers for their encouragement, noting she plans to continue her education to become a substance abuse counselor. She advises others to never give up, no matter how difficult the coursework may seem.

Guest speaker Dr. Chris Duree, IVCCD Chancellor, told their graduates and their families and friends that the graduates have proven something special. “Life has thrown you curve balls, but you’ve stayed in the game and now you’ve won this game! I’m exceptionally proud of you, and I challenge each of you to keep going. Your potential is unlimited, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”

Each graduate received a certificate symbolizing their dedication to lifelong learning. The graduates also each qualify for a New Opportunity Scholarship worth $400 per semester in college, provided they maintain a qualifying grade point average.

Each year, Iowa Valley Continuing Education (IVCE) presents a Director’s Scholarship award to the student who achieves the highest score on the high school equivalency tests. The June graduating class Valedictorian was Jarrett Williams, who may use the Director’s Scholarship to cover full tuition and fees for one year at either Marshalltown or Ellsworth Community College.

Thirty-three IVCE students have earned their high school equivalency diploma since July 1, 2018. For information about high school equivalency diploma classes offered through Iowa Valley Continuing Education, call 641-754-1348. Classes are offered in Grinnell, Iowa Falls, Marshalltown, and Tama.

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