GED Graduation Will Highlight Success Stories

Natali Villezcas-Aguirre will travel 1,500 miles from El Paso, Texas to Palatine this week to don a cap and gown for the first time. She'll proudly join 50 other graduates - ranging in age from 18 to their mid-50s - at Harper College's first formal GED graduation ceremony in more than two decades.

The event, at 7 p.m. Friday, June 21, will mark the students' success in the program, which often serves as a first step toward a college degree or better career. The ceremony will include remarks from Harper President Dr. Ken Ender and Provost Dr. Judy Marwick.

"We thought it was important to stop and help students celebrate their accomplishments in this leg of their educational journey," Director of Adult Education Darice Trout says. "We hope it will inspire more people to go back to school, and show them that it is possible to obtain a GED and a college education. It is within their reach."

The graduation ceremony will be held in the Performing Arts Center on Harper's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine. About 250 family members and friends are expected to attend, and at least two of those families will see multiple family members walk across the stage.

"We are so excited to bring back this tradition," Trout says. "By helping those in our community succeed in education, we are helping build their futures and, collectively, the future of our community."

Harper's GED curriculum includes a unique bridge program that provides a smooth transition from GED coursework to college-level classes, with a goal of preparing the students for higher education or specific careers in health care or 21st century jobs in technical trades like HVAC. Nearly 80 percent of the graduates already have finished or are enrolled in a college-level class at Harper because of the program's focus on helping them with the transition to higher education and career success.


Press contact: Melanie Kraukauer, 847.925.6000 ext.2561