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49 earn high school diplomas

Jul 25, 2023

Ta’Liya Hollimon has had quite a journey in her 21 years, and is now preparing for college this fall.

“Ever since I was a child, I wanted to better myself in all ways possible, which includes educationally, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. While I was in elementary school a very unfortunate event occurred that resulted in me having to be homeschooled from first grade until I enrolled in [the College and Career Readiness (CCR) program at Rockingham Community College], and that was challenging,” said Hollimon, of Ruffin.

Ta’Liya Hollimon talks to her fellow – and future – graduates during the High School Equivalency diploma commencement ceremony on July 20.

Her parents and sister tried their best to provide a great homeschool learning experience for her, but they all worked so much that she couldn’t get all the help she needed, and she fell behind, she said.

“During that time, I would do something to improve my education every day. I would pick up a book and start reading, I would write in my journal for hours, I would read science books and answer the questions, and so much more, all because I wanted better for myself,” Hollimon said.  

“Even though I was working hard to improve my education, I quickly realized I couldn’t do it all myself. I couldn’t teach myself the things I needed for a proper education,” she said.

Hollimon talked to her sister about her concern, who started calling around to GED programs for her – including the CCR program at Rockingham Community College.

“The phone call my sister had with [CCR Instructional Specialist] Katie Coleman changed my life. Miss Katie was so warm and welcoming, and before I knew it, I was a few days from orientation,” Hollimon said.

“When I walked into class the first day, I was very nervous and anxious because I hadn’t been in a classroom for so many years. I thought to myself, ‘Can I do this?’” she said. “But everyone was so nice, and I quickly adjusted to my new normal.”

She said the support system in CCR is amazing.

“The teachers, staff and students made me feel right at home. The instructors took the time to sit with me and walk me through whatever I didn’t understand to make sure I felt like I knew it. For many reasons, I have love for every single one of the staff members at CCR.”

The combination of Hollimon’s determination and CCR’s support led her to finish the program and successfully take her GED test.

Now, she will pursue an Associate in Science degree at Rockingham Community College this fall, and then transfer to a four-year school for a Bachelors degree in Science Technology.

Ayrton Alvarado Lozano smiles from the front row during the ceremony. Since graduating, he has started his own cleaning company, and is working to expand in the coming months. He will run his company while pursuing a psychology degree.

Hollimon’s story is just one of many success stories of the 49 students who have earned their High School Equivalency diplomas through Rockingham Community College. Many are headed to college, some have plans to work in a family business, one needed his diploma so he could homeschool his own children, and future careers include pharmacy technician, flight attendant, nurse, business owner, information technology, law enforcement, comic illustration, and more.

[Editor’s Note: Photos below are of graduates with RCC President Dr. Mark O. Kinlaw]

Eliseo Delagado-Sanchez wanted his GED so he could help his son with his homework. He plans to find another job that will enable him to spend more time with his son and wife without having to work out of town. He hopes to take classes at RCC.

CCR staff and instructors, family, friends, and a handful of RCC employees celebrated the graduates during a commencement ceremony on Thursday morning, July 20 in the auditorium of the Advanced Technologies building.

RCC congratulates the following graduates:

Fernando Acosta, Ayrton Alvarado Lozano, Jerri Bailey, Crystal Beasley, Braden Bray, Julisa Cantu, Taylor Carter, Dylan Cassell, Andrea Cole , Taran Combs, Jena Corum, Cody Craddock, Aiden Davis, Eliseo Delagado-Sanchez, Ashley Ferris, Carter Finlen, Corrie Frazier, William Gann, Alexandria Gomez, Carley Harrell, Jose Jerrera, Ta’Liya Hollimon, Tommy Hudson, Jr, Micah Hundley, Logan Jackson , Zachery Jones, Lucas Kelley, Stephanie Lemons, Robin Lopez , Cerra Marlowe, Linda Martin, Guillermina Mata-Perez, Gary McCollum, Tabitha McCollum, Donnie Myers, Kayla Myrick , Seth Nolette, Justin Ortiz , Shivang Patel, Bryant Pierce, Jocelyn Scoggins , Haley Simmerman, Xavier Snowdy, Blake Strader, Seth Stratton, Lakendra Tucker, Luke Wagoner, Cody White, and Emmanuelle Wilts.

Emmanuelle Wilts has been hired by the Eden Police Department, and started Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) at RCC. She also plans to look into RCC’s Criminal Justice Technologies program, and possibly pursue an EMT credential.

Anyone interested in completing their high school education can enroll in RCC’s free program and earn their High School Equivalency diploma. Classes are held on campus, virtually, and online, and are designed to prepare students to take the GED or HiSET test, which can be done on the RCC campus.

For information on either of these programs, contact CCR Director Arcelle Taylor at 336-342-4261 ext. 2305 or taylora6732@rockinghamcc.edu. Information can also be found at https://www.rockinghamcc.edu/continuing-education/adult-high-school-ged/.

Twenty-seven members of the High School Equivalency Class of 2023 attended the July 20 commencement ceremony.

~Story and photos by RCC Director of Public Information Gerri Hunt


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