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BCCC holds high school equivalency graduation for 45

(BCCC photo)

WASHINGTON, Beaufort County - Beaufort County Community College recently held its high school equivalency graduation for 45 students.

Below is a full press release on the ceremony.

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A group of 45 students got to check off a big accomplishment after as they received their high school equivalency (HSE) from Beaufort County Community College on May 17. The students have different reasons for completing the program and vary in age, but the end result will be a sense of accomplishment, a chance for higher wages and a first step to advancing their education. Students work at their own pace with the guidance of an instructor and, since this January, can even participate in the program online. The program provides a second chance to adults who did not complete high school in the traditional manner. Some of them left high school to join the workforce or start families. The HiSET exam is designed to measure a person's knowledge and skills in the areas of language arts, reasoning, social studies, science and mathematics. This year the First Christian Church donated funding to cover the fees for the HiSET to alleviate the financial burden for students. "Students who earn an HSE will have access to greater employment and higher earnings," said Heather Collins, director of the Career and College Readiness Program at BCCC. "While employees with high school degrees tend to make more than those without, many employers will not even consider candidates without a degree." For some students, the option is less economic than personal. Achieving an HSE can boost their self-confidence and remove a past regret. Guest speaker William Hunt spoke about the calling that brought him from college football back to high school.

Of the graduates, six were also inducted into the National Adult Honor Society. Jon Elzey, Rose Garcia-Saseman, Yolanda Miranda, Jessica Shore, Roxanne Tate and Odis Leon Waters, Jr. all earned this additional recognition. Students in a HSE class work at different paces to prepare for testing in different academic areas. Some students take their time. Others, like Jon Elzey, completed the entire program in two months. With the online option, students are self-paced, having directives geared to their needs each week. If they test out of an area, they can move on. They have three hours of optional face to face time with their instructor bi-weekly. The online option allows students to work around their family and work schedules and save gas by not having to drive to campus.

These additional graduates will also benefit the service area as a whole. According to the latest data in 2015, 83.5 percent of Beaufort County adults were high school graduates, up from 81.4 percent in 2014. In Washington and Hyde Counties 79.4 percent of adults held a college degree in 2015. In Tyrrell County that rate was only 69.7. Employers looking to locate in an area consider factors such as this to see if an educated workforce is readily available. While improvements in K-12 are yielding higher graduation rates, HSE programs are key to boosting the number of adults with high school degrees in the region. The availability of an online program as well as classes at the Hyde County Davis Center in Engelhard and the Washington County Center in Roper are ways that BCCC hopes to boost access to the HSE program across the service area.

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