On Thursday night, 19 adult education students from the Emerson Family School moved on to their next steps.
The school hosted its annual adult education graduation, with 12 of the 19 grads choosing to walk across the stage at the Greensboro Center, and receive their credential. The program offers a choice of the GED or HiSet adult education credential, as well as a diploma from an accredited high school for students who meet certain criteria. Students enrolled in pharmacy technician and certified nursing assistant programs through Emerson were also recognized. Each adult education graduate received $50 from Starkville Oktibbeha Achieving Results (SOAR).
LeStar Faye Morgan was among the adult education graduates. A 60-year-old mother and grandmother who dropped out of school years ago, Morgan entered the program at Emerson at the encouragement of her five grown children.
“I have five children and nine grandbabies, so it’s been a while,” Morgan said. “It worked good for me because the ladies were very kind. It was something that I was not used to.”
Morgan said she left school in Louisiana the first time due to an undiagnosed reading problem.
“Nobody ever recognized it,” Morgan said. “They just said ‘read your book, you’ll figure it out.’ I never could, because I couldn’t read.”
Morgan scored 15 on the social studies section of the HiSet, 10 on science, eight on reading, eight on language and 13 on math.
“I never had algebra in my life, and I got it in four weeks,” Morgan said. “It was very tricky to me.”
She said her son told her to mark letter "C" on the tests if she didn’t know the answer.
Morgan said she doesn’t know what will come next for her, although she is looking at different options.
“The kids want me to go to college, so we’ll see,” Morgan said.
Morgan’s grandson, Caleb Hall, said it was great to see his grandmother succeed.
“I know she worked hard with it, and whenever we were going to school, we were staying together, so every day she’d be going to school at the same time as I was,” Hall said.
Mississippi State University associate professor of kinesiology Benjamin Wax was commencement speaker. In his address, he told the new graduates to continue working to overcome challenges.
“Graduates, the term 'commencement' signifies a new beginning,” Wax said. “As you close this chapter in your lives, I want to ask you to think of this. What will be your story?"
Wax also encouraged the new grads to begin with the end in mind.
“We can take a lesson from that as you move forward, about how your story will end and work back to where you’re at, ” Wax said. “In any great story, there are challenges an individual must face, especially that main character, the hero of the story. First there are going to be external challenges, circumstances that are outside of our control. Each of you tonight, will have overcome those particular challenges to be here.”