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Record Number: 10656
Displayed from: Mar 03, 2014 , until: May 03, 2014

The Fort Wayne Community Schools Adult and Continuing Education Department will celebrate the success of 574 graduates at its Commencement Ceremony at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, at North Side High School.

Prior to the Commencement Ceremony the Literacy Alliance will host a reception from 6-6:45 p.m. at North Side. Six graduating students will share their stories of how they came to the Adult and Continuing Education program at Anthis Career Center or a satellite site and reached their goal of earning a GED or high school diploma between January and December 2013. The program serves adult students of all ages, many of whom have endured educational and personal struggles on their road to graduation. This year’s speakers are:

  • Allen Hackworth - With new confidence from earning his GED, Allen Hackworth just started a job at Ultra Electronics UnderSea Systems, Inc. He also enrolled at Ivy Tech where he plans to study communications, public speaking or journalism. He dropped out of school when he became frustrated by the loss of many credits when he moved from semesters at Central Noble to tri­mesters at Columbia City High School. “I was young and immature at the time and didn’t realize how important an education is,” he said, looking back on his choices. After years of working minimum-wage jobs that did not sup­port him, as well as urging from his parents, Allen decided to return to school and study for the GED tests. He returned to the classroom a more mature student, and at Anthis Career Center, he was determined to be successful. He attended classes daily and spent more than 60 hours outside of class on Continuing Education’s online program. He is grateful to his teachers for the second chance and to his mom, dad and grandparents who believed in and supported him.


  • Joanna Delagrange - Grabill native Joanna Delagrange studied at home and a short time at Anthis Career Center before taking and passing the GED tests. As is customary with the Amish, she did not go beyond eighth grade in school. “I always longed to further my education, and I knew getting my GED would open the door to college,” she said. Her husband of almost 14 years supported her in her path by encouraging her and helping with their children. She is currently enrolled in a patient access certification class through WorkOne. Ultimately, she plans to pursue a nursing degree.


  • Alberta Garcia - After a couple of years of retirement, Alberta Garcia wanted to find a part-time inventory job to supplement her income. She had worked in inventory at the U.S. Postal Service for many years and had excellent evaluations and skills, but no one would hire her because she did not have a high school diploma. She had attended Elmhurst but could not keep up because she was working full time in food service at St. Joseph Hospital to help support her large family. She got ready for the GED tests through online study at home made possible by Anthis Career Center. The GED has bolstered her self-worth and confi­dence. It was something she always desired but never thought she would have. Her effort has motivated family members also pursue continuing education.


  • Brieanna Strebig - Brieanna Strebig was unable to graduate from Snider High School because of surgeries and medical complications. But the Fort Wayne native wanted to go to college for a bach­elor’s degree in elementary education. After studying at Anthis Career Center, she took and passed the GED tests. Many people supported her along the way. “But I’d have to hand it to my mom,” Brieanna said. “She fought really hard to get me the accommodations needed due to my disability. She had faith every step of the way.” With the GED, she has gained confi­dence and recognizes the ability to achieve any goal with a positive outlook and hard work.


  • Erica Bright - San Antonio native Erica Bright moved to Fort Wayne when she was 19 and her husband wanted to return to his home town. She wanted to get her diploma, and although, she had earned enough credits, she could not pass the Graduation Qualifying Exam. Instead, she earned her nursing assistant certification and focused on raising her children. As her children grew older and with 7 years of nursing assisting experience, Erica wanted to further her education and obtain a career where she could devote more input to patient care. She also wanted to set an example for their children. With the GED she has done all of those things. She has made her husband proud and proven to herself that she can be successful. With the GED, she has been accepted into nursing school.


  • Terry Donahue - Through WorkOne, Terry Donahue passed a patient ac­cess certification class. With her certification and GED, she can realize her dream of helping people through a career in health care. She attended high school in Delaware, but she suffered a traumatic brain injury in an automobile accident. It took a long time to recover and prevented her from graduating. She moved to Fort Wayne with her hus­band’s career move in 2010. When she saw articles about changes to the GED program, Terry was determined to prepare for and take the tests. Her friend, Libby, helped her find Anthis Career Center where in­struction and encouragement readied her for the tests in Oc­tober. According to Terry, before the GED she felt she “never measured up.” Now, Terry knows she can do anything she if she is dedicated.

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.