GED grads find new direction at San Jac
For students like 24-year-old Devan Ghandoura of La Porte, the opportunity to pursue a college education after high school was cut short, only to reappear during a chance meeting years later with her local San Jacinto College representative.
Kaye Moon Winters, SJC advisor and recruiter for nontraditional students, was keynote speaker at Ghandoura's General Educational Development graduation ceremony at the Harris County Department of Education.
With her, she brought letters of acceptance to San Jacinto College to insert in each of the 72 graduates' diploma folders.
After hearing Kaye speak, we were all very inspired by her story and felt led to keep going and further our education," Ghandoura said, who also won a $100 gift certificate from Barnes & Noble. We knew that if she could do this, so could we."
Moon Winters graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Houston in 2007 at the age of 59.
Her experience inspired the development of the SJC Never Too Late" student organization, a club that provides support and assistance for nontraditional students. Once a term used to describe older students, nontraditional" now includes students who have taken breaks in their college education and parents who attend college.
Students who persevere through the process of earning their GED diploma years after high school, are some of the hardest working nontraditional college students, said Moon Winters.
Students who earn their GED diplomas fit into another type of nontraditional student category," Moon Winters said.
They have to complete high school subjects all over again before moving on. I know how difficult my path was, but theirs is even harder because of that extra step."
Ghandoura's high school diploma was withheld in 2006 after she did not pass the science section of her Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills exam. Up until that point, she had passed all other TAKS subjects, as well as successful completion of her high school class subjects.
As years passed, and she became a mother, Ghandoura decided to enroll in GED classes this year and complete the required math and English portions of the program. She is enrolled in medical office professional courses through the continuing and professional development division at SJC Central with hopes of gaining employment within the field of medical billing and coding.
Bringing in community college representatives to speak with GED students lets them know of the various opportunities that await them after graduation, said Eduardo Honold, director of adult education at the county's department of education.
Hopefully, this type of partnership will increase the number of students making the transition from earning their GED diplomas to actually earning their college degrees," Honold said.
For more information about San Jacinto College, visit www.sanjac.edu, or call 281-998-6150.
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