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Record Number: 17021
Displayed from: Mar 06, 2018 , until: May 06, 2018

The Fort Wayne Community Schools Adult and Continuing Education Department will celebrate the success of 172 graduates at its Commencement Ceremony at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, at North Side High School.

From Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2017, 172 students passed the High School Equivalency (HSE) Exam. The HSE diploma replaced the GED (General Educational Development) certificate as a change in testing took place nationwide in 2014. Instead of just one national test, states were allowed to choose tests that are more closely aligned with a state’s academic standards. The test chosen by Indiana, the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) is closely aligned to College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education.

During Wednesday’s celebration, the stories of four graduating students will be shared. The Continuing Education Program serves adult students of all ages, many of whom have endured educational and personal struggles on their road to graduation. Highlighted students this year are:

  • In Richard Anderson’s home, the high school diplomas belonging to his wife and his three children hung on a wall. When his 4-year-old grandson asked where his diploma was, Richard knew it was time to pursue his dream of completing his education. He contacted the Adult and Continuing Education Program at the Bill C. Anthis Center where he was supported and encouraged to study for the HSE. Richard had a successful career in the U.S. Navy and at General Motors, but he believes it is never too late to learn and pursue your dreams. He is now studying at Ivy Tech and encouraging others to complete their goals. He is proud of the new diploma on his wall and proud to be a positive role model for his grandchildren.
  • Jamie Eller remembers the first day she walked into the Bill C. Anthis Center. She didn’t know what to expect and soon felt overwhelmed. She was on a mission to prepare to pass the TASC and earn her HSE after hitting what she described as "rock bottom." Though initially overwhelmed, she soon learned she could count on the support of her teachers in the Adult and Continuing Education program and the support of significant others. She was determined in spite of challenges including addiction, being a single mother and losing her mother. When it got hard, she persisted. Jamie said, "I am a better person today because of the opportunities I have been given," at Anthis Continuing Education. She is grateful to the staff for helping her create a better life for herself and her daughter.
  • Ramiza Rizvic felt overwhelmed when she and her family fled war-torn Bosnia and immigrated to the United States. She didn’t know English and was as frightened and confused as her very young daughters. She concentrated on raising them and working and didn’t make time for herself until her now grown and well-educated daughters encouraged her to focus on herself. It was a long, hard journey, but she has never been happier or more excited for her future after becoming a graduate. Now she feels confident, thankful and eager to achieve new goals. She plans to earn her Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) certification through Continuing Education’s free WorkINdiana program in May.
  • Theogene Rutagambwa is an immigrant who decided to everything in his native Rwanda for the opportunity to be more successful in the United States. Always willing to do whatever was necessary to succeed, Theo studied English then achieved his HSE while working full time and taking care of his family. He came to class exhausted after working jobs that he used to train other people to do in Rwanda with an amazingly optimistic attitude and determination to excel. He sets a fine example of what dedication and hard work can accomplish, which is why he was selected to receive our James Davis Award this year. Opportunities that many of us take for granted are still the beacon that draw people from around the world to share and add to the fabric of our country.

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.