Please read the speech given by NEDP graduate and guest speaker at the ceremony of the College of Southern Maryland on October 28, 2017.
Good Evening Graduates, CSM Staff, and Guests:
When I was asked to be the guest speaker for this graduation ceremony, I was somewhat apprehensive at first. However, with the support from my family, my adviser and the fact that I believe in the National External Diploma Program I considered it an honor. I am fifty-three years of age and with only a ninth grade education, due to choices that I made and the consequences that followed "we'll just say I wasn't a model student" have led me to this night. Back then, I would've graduated with the Class of '82. Back then, even without finishing high school, you could fall into a career. And while you had to work harder at it, work was easier to find.
What led me to earn my high school diploma though after all these years was I had taken a non-credited course here at the College of Southern Maryland and during the course I found out that in order to even qualify for the national test and to receive the certification, you needed a high school diploma. So instead of letting the tuition go to waste I finished the course and proceeded to study on my own for my GED. Later I was told about a program that the College of Southern Maryland was offering to adults to earn their high school diploma. As it stands you had to qualify for this program or you had to attend classes. I was able to meet the necessary requirements to enroll in the NEDP program.
Had I not qualified I would not be here tonight only because my work schedule would not allow me even to attend the classes. I will always be grateful to not only the College of Southern Maryland staff but also to CASAS who developed this program making earning my high school diploma so obtainable. I will always be a huge supporter for this program whether for CSM or CASAS because of what it offers, and let me just add that those behind the scenes deserve a great deal of credit because without you there would be no NEDP program. I had a great advisor in Mrs. Trudy Rice and I thank you for giving up your Tuesday evenings so that I could earn my diploma but mostly I thank you for your encouragement and support.
What I enjoyed most about the program and its curriculum is that you are able to apply most of the studies in real life situations. The resources that were used to help guide you through each study, you can even use after you have completed the program. You are given ample time to complete the program so with my work schedule this was very convenient.
I encourage anyone that finds themselves in similar circumstances to talk to any of the staff members in the Adult Education office here at the College of Southern Maryland, the staff is very knowledgeable and can help guide you on your journey to earning your high school diploma. Now that I have completed the program and have received my high school diploma I feel that I can accomplish just about anything I set out to do.
To my family; Renee, Aleigha and James I thank you for your support and encouragement, I am truly blessed to have you in my life. To my friends and employer I thank you for your encouragement and support.
To the rest of the staff in the Adult Education office I thank you for your commitment and dedication. You do an excellent job and deserve a great deal of credit.
To the staff at CASAS for the development of the curriculum and the NEDP program I will forever be grateful. You have made it so that anyone can earn their diploma.
Now to the graduates here tonight and in the future I congratulate you and applaud you for a job well done and may you succeed in all your future endeavors.