Continuing Ed Graduation Celebrates Successes, Honors Student Killed in Fire - March 01, 2012

Record Number: 8555
Displayed from: Mar 01, 2012 , until: Apr 01, 2012

The Fort Wayne Community Schools Adult and Continuing Education Department will celebrate the success of 336 graduates, including honoring one posthumously, at its Commencement Ceremony at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, at North Side High School. During the ceremony, a diploma will be presented to the family of 19-year-old Jonette Chacon, who died in a house fire in December shortly after finishing her last credit in economics. "Graduation was an important goal for her, and we are happy to be able to recognize her accomplishment and share it with her family," teacher Scott Souers said. Prior to the Commencement Ceremony the Literacy Alliance will host a reception from 6-6:45 p.m. at North Side. In addition to honoring Jonette, six graduating students will share their stories of how they came to the Adult and Continuing Education program at Anthis Career Center or a satellite site and reached their goal of earning a GED or high school diploma between January and December 2011. The program serves adult students of all ages, many of whom have endured educational and personal struggles on their road to graduation. This year's speakers are: Dayana Nino, who came to the United States 3 years ago and started in the beginning ELL program. She went from speaking only a few words of English to earning her GED and agreeing to speak in front of a large audience. She is a hard-working student who also took time to help other students around her. Last year, she received the National Adult Education Honor Society Award. Vanessa Kamphues, a busy homemaker and mother of three. When the economy turned, there was less work for her husband's masonry business, and she decided to return to school after 20 years. She was inspired to take GED classes after hearing a student speaker at an earlier Continuing Education Graduation Ceremony. She is now excited to receive her own diploma and go on to college and the workplace. Rebecca Hayes, who found she was unable to help her five children with her homework if she did not go back to school herself. While she had worked in a variety of jobs, it was becoming increasingly difficult to secure a job without a diploma. Rebecca was recently accepted to Ivy Tech and will soon be working towards a Certified Medical Assistant degree. Allen Miller, who had little enthusiasm for high school but found he enjoyed the environment and structure of returning to school to obtain his GED. He was tired of feeling like a failure, and now, he is looking forward to a successful future. Rotrice Phinezy, who felt like she had to get her diploma on her own because she had never been successful in school and could not pass the ISTEP+. She completed the Certified Nursing Assistant program through WorkOne and enjoyed helping people, but she wanted a degree in nursing to get a better job. Her husband encouraged her to try Anthis Career Center where she was finally able to pass the ISTEP in March 2011 and earn her high school diploma. Jessica Cowan, who dropped out of school 16 years ago. At 27 years old, she became pregnant with her first daughter and knew she had to get her GED so that she could get a better job. She attempted the GED test several times before signing up for GED classes. She worried about going back to school and feeling like the oldest student in the class, but she quickly found that the class was made up of adults in a similar situation who were all trying to improve their lives.

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.