Ulster BOCES Adult Education Program Completion Ceremony

Ulster BOCES Adult Education Program Completion Ceremony

Graduates of the Adult Education Literacy Program came together to celebrate obtaining their General Education Diploma (GED) or the completion of their English as a Second Language (ESL) classes through the Ulster BOCES Adult Career Education Center at a moving end-of-year completion ceremony on Tuesday, May 14, at the Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning in Port Ewen. A total of 83 students from across theHudson Valley were recognized for their completion of the rigorous program since 2020. 

The guest speaker, Elisa Tinti, City Clerk and Registrar from the City of Kingston, congratulated the graduates for coming to Ulster BOCES and laying a foundation for what will be a great story. She acknowledged that the graduates were closing one chapter of their story and starting another. “What will be the next pivotal moment that will lead to your next bright future? I can't wait to hear all of your stories,” Tinti said.

Luz Zapata, a Kingston resident who earned her GED, says it was more than worth it. “My advice to everyone who struggles is that you have to believe in yourself. It took me four years, but I finally got my GED. I did it to show my nephew that he could do it, too. I am currently in my second year of college,” Zapata said. “It hasn’t been the easiest time of my life,” she says, adding that her teachers provided her and her classmates with the tools they needed to complete the program and succeed. "The world is yours! Believe in yourself. I am so grateful to everyone who believed in me!"

The newly minted GED graduates in attendance were: Gabriel Allen, Kingston; Corina Brown, Catskill; Zachary Calderale, Ashokan; Gianni Calister, New Paltz; Erum Choudhry, Kingston; Stacy Clarke, Marlboro; Toni-Ann Forcaretta, Margaretville; Travis Hasbrouck Sr., Kingston; Sonia Irizarry, Kingston; Carmela King, Kingston; Amity Lasting, Ellenville; Aaron Maloy, Ellenville; Kerry Munson, Kingston; Lakoyia Neal, Kingston; Felicia Porter, Saugerties; Carmelita Ritchie, Cairo-Durham; Elvira Rodriguez, Kingston; Evan Saratapoulas, Ellenville; Lashawn Spencer, Kingston; Giovanni Velez, Ellenville; Cherri Williams, Ellenville; and Luz Zapata, Onteora.

“Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tells us that students who have their High School Equivalency are more likely than non-high school graduates to be employed and participate in the labor force,” says Peter Harris, Assistant Superintendent for Career Pathways Programs at Ulster BOCES. “Today’s graduates will play a key role in filling vital positions in Ulster County and beyond. I am very proud of their determination to succeed in this rigorous program and thankful for their instructors’ commitment to their educational success.”

To learn more about Adult Education programs at Ulster BOCES, call 845-331-5050 or visit www.ulsterboces.org.

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