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‘We don’t have to stop here’

Community Contributor Tom Wilson • Jun 6, 2019 at 9:00 AM

KINGSPORT — A traveler may take many roads to reach a destination.

Several adult students took big steps forward on May 30 when they walked the stage to receive their High School Equivalency diplomas via the Northeast State Adult Education Program.

“We did it,” student speaker Kisha Henson told the graduation audience. “We don’t have to stop here.”

Adult Education program director Debbie Fillers welcomed graduates and their families to the ceremony held at the Kingsport Center for Higher Education. Northeast State President Bethany Flora and Vice President for Workforce Development Sam Rowell were also on hand to congratulate graduates.

“By your example, you serve as an inspiration to all of us,” Rowell told the graduating class. “Just by being here tonight, you have made a positive influence over someone.”

Adult-ed graduates attending the ceremony were: Alisha Byron; Shiloh Bronson II; Brandie Canter; Sarah Craig; Kimbre Day; Cameron Fields; Kisha Henson; Kalob Hinkle; Alexis Jones; Luella Perdue; Veronica Reynolds; Kristina Roebuck; Cory Shelton; Raychel Stankov; Megan Suthers; and Aaron Wood.

Thursday night’s ceremony was the first of two adult education graduation events scheduled this spring. The second ceremony is set for June 13 at Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church in Johnson City.

In 2016, Northeast State was named as one of eight service providers by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development to coordinate adult education programs in each of the state’s 95 counties today. Northeast State’s adult education team serves the state’s District 1 region including Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties. The adult education team helps adults to complete a high school education, transition to postsecondary education and training, and obtain employment. The Northeast State adult education program recorded a total of 213 graduates since July 1, 2018.

Graduate Kimbre Day plans to serve in the National Guard and then return to college to become an EMT-paramedic. She hoped her perseverance would influence other family members to return to school.

“It took about four years for me to get here,” Day said. “It’s actually easy because I was prepared for it.”

Like many of her peers, graduate Alisha Byron overcame a host of obstacles to earn her degree. She said the birth of her daughter gave her the spark to return to school.

“It means a bright future for me and my daughter,” she said. “I wanted to give her the best possible future she could get.”

Now in a certificate program to become a medical assistant, Byron plans to enroll in an online program to earn her associate’s degree. After that she wants to pursue a career in nursing.

“I’m going to try to go for my R.N.,” said Byron. “I’ve already applied to Northeast State, and all I need to do is take the Accuplacer test.”

From personal struggles to facing down math classes, Byron reflected many fears overcome and desires fulfilled by her fellow graduates.

“It’s scary. I certainly didn’t think I could do it (go back to school), but here I am,” she said. “I would tell people to give it your best shot, and you’ll know you can do it.”

For more information about adult education or how to pursue your HSE degree, call (844) 637-5697 or email [email protected]

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