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RichmondCC Celebrates Graduates Earning High School Diploma

Jun 19

June 19, 2019 – Over 100 people earned a high school diploma through Richmond Community College’s adult education programs this past year. The College held a special graduation ceremony Tuesday night at the Cole Auditorium to celebrate these students’ achievement.Cruz Titus holds his diploma and shakes hands with the college president.

“Tonight we are celebrating these students as they mark the end of one journey and the beginning of another,” said Dr. Dale McInnis, president of RichmondCC. “It is always a privilege to honor people who have overcome adversity and worked through challenges in order to cross the finish line.”

Among those completing the Adult High School program was Cruz Titus, who will be enrolling in the Electric Lineman program at RichmondCC this fall. One of his instructors, Tara McDuffie, explained how Titus entered the program with very little focus and ambition. However, after seeing his friends finish the program, she said, Titus had a renewed spirit about his studies.

“He started setting weekly goals for himself so he could complete his high school diploma by a certain time. He not only did that, but he exceeded that goal by completing a few weeks early,” McDuffie said.

Titus was one of three students invited to speak at the ceremony.

“Mrs. McDuffie played a huge part in my path to graduating. She inspired me and badgered me about my progress. She is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had, and I’m very grateful to her,” Titus said. “As for Richmond Community College, it taught me more than grammar and algebra. It taught me responsibility; it taught me procrastination was only hurting myself; and it taught me the only way to have the future I so desperately want is to work hard.”

McDuffie introduced another one of her students, Veronica Torres, who was very dedicated to her studies driving from Mt. Gilead every day to be in class. While in the Adult High School program, she also took the Banking Fundamentals class offered at RichmondCC. Torres has already started her college classes this summer semester and plans to earn an associate degree in accounting.

Torres thanked her family and instructors for their support and also recognized the hard work of her fellow graduates.

“All of us have accomplished one major milestone of our lives. We have all shown our commitment to personal growth by making it to this ceremony,” she said. “But the journey does not have to stop here with our diplomas.”

Torres plans to continue her educational journey and get a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Madison Smith, another adult education instructor, introduced the final student speaker, Alisa Cherry, who completed her diploma through the High School Equivalency program. 

“Alisa originally came to RichmondCC to take sign language courses but decided she needed to obtain her High School Equivalency diploma. Her strong will and desire to be educated propelled her forward to create a better life for her family,” Smith said.

Born and raised in Trinidad, Cherry moved to New York City in 2012 and then to North Carolina to care for her ailing father. During this time she was also diagnosed with congenital hearing loss.

“It was incredibly important to me to obtain my education for my family and myself,” Cherry said. “This experience has been life-changing because although I had many obstacles I remained resilient and persevered to obtain my educational goals.”

Cherry plans to take sign language classes and eventually become a sign language instructor. She will be enrolling this fall at RichmondCC to continue what she calls a “fantastic educational journey.”

Scholarships Awarded

Five scholarships were awarded to graduates who are planning to continue their education at RichmondCC.

  • The Barbara S. Conder Basic Skills Scholarship was awarded to Timothy Grooms II.
  • The Rockingham Civitan Club Scholarship was awarded to Alisa Cherry.
  • The Joseph R. Kester Excellence in Education Scholarship was awarded to James Moree. This scholarship is given to the student who has the highest overall grade average among High School Equivalency and Adult High School diploma students.
  • The Emma M. Stancil and Captain Walter R. Stancil Jr. Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Cruz Titus.
  • The RichmondCC Trustees Basic Skills Scholarship was awarded to Veronica Torres.