Graduates Receive High School Equivalency Diplomas At BCCC

Graduate Christina Riley, middle, is surrounded by family.
Graduate Christina Riley, middle, is surrounded by family who all came out to support her. Photo by Rick Rickman.

Nearly five dozen adult graduates received their High School Equivalency diplomas at Bucks County Community College’s Epstein Campus Thursday night. Now called HSE, many people may better know their accomplishments as GED’s.

Graduate Speaker Christina Riley enrolled last fall and passed her final exam this May. She had the opportunity to tell her story to the 200 people who came out in support.

“I had my ups and downs, and boy oh boy was math going to be the death of me,” Riley said to supportive laughter. “But I’m standing here today as a 2019 graduate because I stuck it out, and it was so worth it. I couldn’t be any more proud of myself.”

Riley is also a wife and mother of four who can now pursue her dream of working in child care. Her whole family, including her daughter Jasmine, was with her the whole way.

“I am extremely proud of her and everything that she’s done,” Jasmine said. “It was a hard thing for her and I know it was. But I’m very proud that she stuck with it and was able to accomplish everything she wanted to accomplish.”

Deborah Peters receives her diploma with graduates behind her.
Deborah Peters accepts her diploma from BCCC President Dr. Stephanie Shanblatt (far left), then walks across to receive a parting flower with graduates behind her. Photo by Rick Rickman.

Graduate Deborah Peters also spoke to the crowd with great energy as she reflected on her journey. Peters also said she faced her greatest challenges in math, and described the day she and Riley found out their scores.

“I looked further down the page to see it said, ‘You did it.’ I passed,” Peters said. “And in that moment I burst into tears. Tears of joy and relief. Now here we are hugging and crying and repeating over and over, ‘We did it.'”

Peters thanked BCCC, Adult Basic Literacy Education Program Coordinator G. Jay Francis, and her teachers.

“And it just goes to show you, you’re never too old to set a goal and go for it,” Peters concluded.

Some, like Peters, will go back for their undergraduate degrees at BCCC or other schools. Others graduates to go right into the workforce for their dream jobs.

Other speakers included Jason Rose with the PA Career Link Center, BCCC Center for Workforce Development Executive Susan Herring, BCCC President Dr. Stephanie Shanblatt, and G. Jay Francis.