Graduates from Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell arrive for the GED Completion Graduation ceremony, Thursday. (Mark Wilson Photo)
Forty-eight GED graduates stepped onto the stage and shouted, “Adelante!” after receiving their high school equivalency certificates Thursday night at ENMU-R, the 23rd annual GED High School Completion Graduation ceremony put on by the university’s Adult Basic Education Department. The graduates successfully completed tests of General Education Development, which provide the necessary credentials for adults who did not complete high school.
Speakers focused on the theme of going forward, opening doors and overcoming challenges.
ABE Director Todd DeKay opened the ceremony discussing all of the opportunities created through reading.
“Reading is active; TV, movies, videos, are passive,” he said. “Reading engages your imagination, video substitutes for your imagination. Reading takes you into life, while TV distracts you from life. Reading also makes up for the shortness of life.”
Student speaker Shelby Henry said that it takes a lot to “come in and do in one day what most people do in years,” and stressed that the graduates remain proud, never letting anybody tell them that their certificate somehow holds less value than a high school diploma.
The featured speaker was Freddie Romero, a district court judge of the 5th Judicial District. Romero shared a story about his friend, Doug, who attended law school with Romero 30 years ago.
Doug was a paraplegic who inspired Romero and his fellow classmates to “stop bellyaching so much.” Romero said that seeing what Doug had to overcome showed everybody how petty many of their concerns were, and taught him perseverance.
“There is no challenge too large, that it cannot be overcome by you,” he said. “If you have a goal don’t worry about the challenges. They’re there to make you stronger. By overcoming those challenges, you will continue to inspire everyone around you.”
Romero closed the speech with an anecdote about a teacher he once had who only knew one Spanish word: adelante. Romero said his teacher always ended her speeches with the word, stressing the importance of moving forward.
“(The GED) is a door of opportunity,” he said. “Your ABE teachers unlocked that door for you, and they might have jiggled it a little for you, but you’re the ones that opened it. You are the ones who opened that door, and you are the ones who are going to go forward.”