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Record Number: 18564
Displayed from: Mar 06, 2019 , until: May 06, 2019

The Fort Wayne Community Schools Adult and Continuing Education Department will celebrate the success of 201 graduates at its Commencement Ceremony at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, at North Side High School.

From Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2018, 201 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 five 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:

Isabelita Tatman: Even though she grew up in a poverty-stricken home in the Philippines, Isabelita Tatman never gave up on achieving greatness or pursuing her dreams. Although she speaks four languages and has traveled the world as a contracted singer, Isabelita never finished high school. In search of finishing her high school education, Isabelita came to the FWCS Career Academy at Anthis in 2016. Obtaining her HSE proved harder than she expected, especially not being a native English speaker. Even though she experienced failure more than once, Isabelita never gave up on earning her High School Equivalency diploma. Through dedication, a positive attitude and sheer determination, Isabelita finally passed all sections of the HSE in 2018.  Her contagious positive attitude and enthusiasm rub off on all those around her. Isabelita has furthered her education by achieving her certification as a Business Professional and is also certified in Microsoft Word and Excel.

Christina Dooly: Throughout her childhood, Christina ”Stina” Dooly faced many difficulties. She grew up in foster care and had to drop out of school to obtain a job so she could financially support herself as a teenager. She was on her own and alone by the time she was 18. As an adult, she faced even more obstacles, yet she never used her setbacks as an excuse to do nothing. Although 25 years had passed since Stina attended school, she returned to school in 2018 at the Bill C. Anthis Center to obtain her High School Equivalency. She excelled quickly and passed the HSE four months after starting the program.  Stina also received a CCMA (medical assistant certification) and is waiting for the opportunity to work in the medical field. In the meantime, she is working for FWCS Career Academy in the Adult Education Program. Having been a student herself, she understands adult students better than most others.

Charles Harmon: Charles “CJ” Harmon grew up in a single-parent household in a small town in Illinois. His mom worked two jobs just to provide for the family. Throughout his childhood, CJ faced many challenges, including not finishing high school and making some poor life decisions. By the end of 2017, CJ realized he needed to get out of the toxic environment that was holding him back, and in January 2018, CJ was given an opportunity for a fresh start by moving to Fort Wayne and living with his aunt.  CJ’s aunt encouraged him to return to school and pursue higher education. CJ quickly completed his HSE and also attained a CCMA  (medical assistant certification). He is grateful for his new friends and family in Fort Wayne. His ultimate goal is to be a veterinarian, and he’s determined to not give up on that dream.

Marbin Molina: On October 22, 2015, Marbin Molina and his father left El Salvador in search of what most Salvadorans called the American Dream. Due to economic and political problems and the increase of violence in El Salvador, they looked for a better future and a new beginning in the United States. In November that same year, Marbin and his dad arrived at his uncle’s house in Fort Wayne. Marbin was excited, anxious and afraid. “Would I fit in this new place?” he thought. Marbin officially started school in January 2016 in the ELL program for high school students at the FWCS Career Academy. He dedicated his time to his studies all year long, including the summer months.  As part of his studies, Marbin finished the Skills 180 certification, a manufacturing skills program, and completed all the high school graduation requirements, including passing both the English and Algebra sections of the ECA exam. He is grateful for the opportunity given to him and for the help from his Anthis teachers, friends and family. 

Tiffany England: Tiffany England overcame many challenges to achieve her goals. The Peru native became pregnant in high school, and although alternative school was an option, she couldn’t complete the program because of demands on her time and obstacles to getting back and forth to the school.  Since then, Tiffany tried three times to prepare for and earn a high school credential. The first time, as a single mom, she couldn’t find dependable childcare while she attended classes. She was homeless in 2014 and moved into Vincent Village with her family where she attended The Literacy Alliance class.  Life’s challenges got in the way until 2017 when she resumed at The Literacy Alliance’s Anchor Learning Center. She credits Anchor’s staff with helping her prepare for and earn her High School Equivalency diploma. Persistence played no small role in her achievements, and she now plans to continue her education and pursue a career in social service.

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.