Tag Archives: High School Equivalency

Graduation season

May is the best month of the year at Pima Community College, because that is when we celebrate the achievements of our students. And yes, it takes most of a month to recognize all of their amazing accomplishments.

I have been fortunate to participate in several of the ceremonies. On May 5, I attended a celebration of the accomplishments of students in our Honors Program. The students balance meeting the program’s rigorous academic requirements with work and family life. As part of the event, students displayed and explained the results of their semester-long research projects.

On May 6, I spoke at Multicultural Convocation, our annual celebration of diversity and inclusion. The stories of grit and determination were inspiring shared by the students were inspiring.  I asked the students to consider the words of Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, to remind them about family and heritage: “It is important for all of us to appreciate where we come from and how that history has really shaped us in ways that we might not understand.”

For blogOn May 12, we celebrated the achievements of our students in Adult Basic Education for College & Career (ABECC) at a High School Equivalency Diploma graduation. The celebration had to be moved to a bigger venue because of the large number of graduates, a sure sign that ABECC is doing it right in fostering student success.

The month also included a candlelight pinning ceremony for Registered Nurses in our Nursing Program. Tonight and next week we will honor the graduates of our Paramedic, Law Enforcement and Fire Academy programs.

Last night, of course, was the main event, Graduation 2016. More than 750 graduates, accompanied by their friends and loved ones, received diplomas and certificates. It was an amazing night, thanks to the hard work of our faculty and staff.

I closed my graduation remarks with a quote, variously attributed to Jesse Jackson and Muhammad Ali: “If your mind can conceive it, and your heart can believe it, you can achieve it.” PCC students are achieving great things, and we are proud of their accomplishments.

[Commencement produced countless memorable images. You can find a few in this short video.]

Pima’s Adult Education Division:  Responding to the demands of a new age

GroupI was privileged to attend the beginning of a new era at the College recently.  I was among about 50 students, educators and community leaders, including U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, for the announcement that Pima Community College Adult Education has become Adult Basic Education for College and Career (ABECC).

As Dean of Adult Education Regina Suitt said during the announcement ceremony, Adult Education’s focus on student success remains unchanged.  Pima’s Adult Basic Education division will continue to be the county’s No. 1 provider of Adult Basic Education, High School Equivalency (HSE) preparation, GED testing, instruction for adults learning English and job skills training. The new name reflects the opportunities for adult learners to use an HSE as a launchpad to transition to vocational training or further academic achievement.  With 88,000 adults in Pima County lacking an HSE, the need is great.

Regina highlighted the story of Linda Langston, who is benefiting from the College’s development of diverse academic pathways that extend beyond an HSE. Linda has completed our Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (IBEST) and received a Behavioral Health Services certificate. IBEST is a nationally recognized instructional model that boosts students’ basic skills while they attend an occupational program.  In the BHS/IBEST program, basic reading, writing, and math skills are contextualized into the BHS course content, with ABE and BHS instructors co-teaching the program.

Linda

Linda Langston

Linda earned a 4.0 GPA in her program and recently won an Arizona Association for Life Long Learning, Adult Literacy Week contest. “Pima removed so many roadblocks for me,” she said, adding that she intends to pursue employment in social work.

Grijalva

Rep. Raúl Grijalva

Student Dominique Lewis and May 2015 graduate Israel Gonzalez Jr. echoed Linda’s story of transformation through education. Rep. Grijalva put ABECC’s intensified focus into eloquent perspective. As our economy responds to the employment demands of a new age, integrated education programs become essential for our students, he said.

Regina and her team of staff and instructors within Adult Basic Education for College & Career are meeting the demands of the 21st century workplace. I thank them for their work to serve our students and community.

 

Plenty to be thankful for

El Rio 1

My visit to the El Rio Learning Center today reaffirmed that the College provides access to a phenomenally wide spectrum of community members.

I met students in a High School Equivalency preparation mathematics class, where I tried to impress upon them the need for everyone to have a solid grounding in math in order to make sensible financial choices, whether for a family or for a large community college such as PCC. I also met students in our Refugee Education and English Language Acquisition for Adults programs. The refugee-students came to us from Sudan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Bhutan and the Congo, among other nations. To a person, they were grateful for the opportunity to restart their lives in the U.S.

Similarly, our ELAA students were both diverse in background and unified in their appreciation for the opportunities PCC affords them. They are learning English to get better jobs, start a business, volunteer in their children’s classrooms, or improve communication with their loved ones; two recently became U.S. citizens.

The key point to remember is that although they come to us from around the globe and from all walks of life, these folks are Pima Community College students. In their desire to improve their circumstances through education, they are no different from anyone else at PCC. I recognize the enormity of the College’s ability and responsibility to affect individual lives, and am thankful that PCC has the opportunity to serve them.