Summer school and adult education graduates celebrate success
Posted on 07/30/2018
picture of graduates

Finding your own path forward and keeping promises to yourself; that’s what success boils down to. For students who received their high school diplomas and certificates at the PWCS Adult Education, 16/17 year-old GED, and Summer School graduation ceremony, success is especially sweet. Whatever their path, their accomplishment is a testament that PWCS programs are a launch pad for anyone who is willing to persevere.

Emotions ran high as the 216 graduates cried, hugged, high-fived, and fist-bumped each other in preparation to cross the stage and turn their tassels. To the standard academic challenges of most, these students add complicated life circumstances or the hard-won discovery that they learn better in less traditional settings to reach this triumphant event. Their personal stories reflect the diversity of those who overcame and succeeded despite personal barriers or other obstacles such as language, relocations, or work or family schedules.

In his words and in his life’s achievements, commencement speaker Mr. Dwight Vick underlines the message that challenges are surmountable with perseverance and that continually learning and pushing your own boundaries will help you achieve beyond your dreams.

Thanks to a special scholarship program from the family of the Division’s beloved former Adult Ed and Summer School Program Director Dr. Renee Lacey, nine of the event’s graduates can bask in the knowledge that their achievements earned them a boost toward their future educational goals.

The recipients of the Dr. Renee H. Lacey $1,000 Scholarships are:
• Elmer Alvarenga, graduated from New Directions and will attend Old Dominion University in the fall majoring in criminal justice and minoring in education. He plans to become a teacher.
• Mildred “Molly” Barcalow, graduated from Colgan High School. She will attend Christopher Newport University in the fall to major in biology. She would like to become a doctor to practice in the field of pediatric medicine.
• Lauren Fraser, completed her GED. She will attend Full Sail University in the fall to study cinema and would like to become a filmmaker.
• Rodrigo Salas Hidalgo, graduated from Osbourn Park High School. He will attend NOVA in the fall and plans to transfer to Virginia Tech to study engineering.

The recipients of the Dr. Renee H. Lacey $200 scholarships are:

• Sharon Gonzalez Martinez, Potomac High School 
• Jamal McNeill, Potomac High School 
• Travis Graham, Freedom High School 
• Kurt Sanders, Woodbridge High School 
• Shayla Ingham, New Directions and Freedom High School