‘Time to celebrate’

PHOTO BY NICOLE WALBY Graduates listen to a speaker during the Vanguard-Sentinel Career and Technology Center Gateway, Ohio’s Options and GED graduation ceremony Wednesday in Fremont.

FREMONT — Twenty graduates participated in the 2017-18 Vanguard-Sentinel Career and Technology Center Gateway, Ohio’s Options and GED graduation ceremony Wednesday evening.

“Graduation, no matter what institution, is the best day of the year,” Heath Martin, assistant vice president for Student and Enrollment Services at Terra State Community College, said.

Martin was the keynote speaker.

“This is the time to celebrate,” he said. “My mom was proud of me when I graduated high school and everyone here is proud of their graduate’s accomplishments. I commend you on your courage and strength to go for your diploma.”

Martin said he hoped it was the first step in their journeys.

“I want you to know that college is possible,” he said.

Martin shared his own college journey, which he thought never would happen since he graduated 25th of 27 students in his class in a small Kansas town, with a grade point average of 2.0 and the reading ability of a sixth-grader.

“I know the rigor of what you went through to get your diploma,” he said. “I went to college and in that four years I graduated with honors. To do that, I had the willingness to work hard, was never embarrassed to ask for help and did my mental homework of why I wanted to go to college.”

Martin said he wanted the graduates to know college is possible and that is where they belong.

He also said each graduate is to receive a $500 scholarship if they enroll at Terra State.

Fostoria native Atricia Hohman also shared her story.

Hohman said she was one of the first students to attend Aspire classes at Fostoria Learning Center. After 63 learning hours, she earned her GED.

“If someone asked me what I would be doing with my life a year ago, I would have to tell them ‘I don’t know,'” Hohman said. “I would be stuck in a dead-end job, raising two children of my own.”

Hohman said motivation from a friend helped her get into the Aspire program.

“I was beyond nervous,” she said. “I have two children who look up to me, who count on me and believe in me.”

She said support from family and friends helped her persevere.

“Through my faith and dedication, I now have the ability to work in the field that I am so touched with and go on to college for psychology,” Hohman said. “The Aspire program made it possible for all of us.”

Graduates included Kaylay DeLaRose from Fostoria Learning Center; Christina Billow, Elizabeth Long and Alexia Tolley of OhioMeansJobs of Seneca County; Josette Mulcahy from the Port Clinton Library; Hunter Clark, Margaruite Dresch, Alan Elkins, Steven Johnson, Allan Wobser and Brandon Write from Vanguard Career and Technology Center; Johnny Gray Jr. and Victoria Wenzlick of the Ottawa County Resource Centre; and Mariah McNeal and Roger Daniel-McNeal of Owens Aspire Guests.

Gateway graduates included Miranda Boley and Amanda Rivera from Fremont Ross High School; Tiffany Torres of Port Clinton High School; and Juan Cordova of Toledo Waite High School.