In Good Company
What do Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton, comedian Bill Cosby, U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, singers Ann Murray and Waylon Jennings, former New Jersey Governor James Florio, Parade magazine editor Walter Anderson, Wendy's founder Dave Thomas, Wally "Famous" Amos, and actress Kelly McGillis have in common?
All famous? Certainly. Winners and high achievers in their fields? You bet. And they are all GED graduates.
This past June 26, the eight graduates of the Building Services GED Class of 2001 were feted before their families and co-workers in a joyous celebration held at the Michigan League. Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer Robert Kasdin saluted the graduates for having the courage to take that first step in pursuing their diplomas, and the perseverance to achieve it.
The Class Representatives were Sandra Metler, Yvette Harris, and Tanya Wyatt, who shared stories of their fears, joys, and pride in participating and finishing the course. Teachers Sam Wickizer and Judy Wenzel added their words of encouragement and congratulations.
Rich Robben served as the main speaker, highlighting many interesting facts about the GED program's history, congratulating the graduates for their achievement, and urging them to see this moment not as an end, but as a point of departure for new challenges and even higher achievements throughout their lives. Such advice is typically borne out by the two of three graduates who pursue further education beyond high school.
The initials "G.E.D." stand for General Education Development, and the program was founded during the Second World War to allow veterans to quickly achieve an equivalent to a high school diploma and to enable them to go on to college. During the 1950s, the American Council on Education determined that civilians who for whatever reason had interrupted their education, could benefit from it.
Now, over 800,000 candidates throughout the United States and Canada take the battery of tests, which lasts seven hours and 35 minutes, and covers five academic areas: writing skills, mathematics, science, literature and the arts, and social studies. GED graduates account for 1 out of 7 high school diplomas issued each year, and the total number of graduates since the program's inception is over 13.5 million.
The certificate is accepted by 96 percent of employers nationwide as equivalent to a diploma for hiring and promotions. A recent survey showed that GED graduates typically increase their earnings an average of $2040 over the earnings they had as dropouts. Furthermore, 93 percent of colleges and universities admit GED graduates who meet other qualifications (ACT, SAT, etc.). So join us in saluting our graduates of 2001 on their achievement, and wishing them well as they pursue new goals and continue in a life-long learning process. If you are interested in taking Adult Education or GED classes, please contact Paul Pritzlaff at Building Services, 764-0521.
NOTE: Statistics in this article were taken from GED 1998 Statistical Report – Who Took the GED.
~ Tom Sullivan, Facilities Maintenance
Back Row: Judy Wenzel, Sandra Metler, Tanya Wyatt, Manuel Ogden, Jacki Tate and Sam Wickizer. Front Row: Paula Montalvo, Yolanda Goodwin, Glacia Davis, and Yvette Harris.
Photo by Tom Sullivan