In the end, too tough to distract
GED graduation a celebration of perseverance
Andrew Gross has always been a bookworm — loves to read, nose constantly in a book.
Normally, this is a good thing. It speaks to a certain curiousness and intellect. But by his junior year of high school, Gross realized that he’d often chosen reading for pleasure over reading for homework, or rushed through his homework in a slipshod hurry so he could get back to his book.
Academically, he was in trouble.
Transferring to R-5 High School helped for a while, but “by fall of last year I was told that because of my personal choices, I wouldn’t be able to graduate on time,” he explained.
He shared that memory Wednesday night, as valedictorian of the 2013-2014 GED graduates and the one who achieved the highest score on the test among the 26 who passed it this school year. Twenty-two of them donned royal blue caps and gowns Wednesday to walk across the stage in the Colorado Mesa University ballroom and receive their GED certificates.
“I never graduated high school,” Grand Junction City Councilwoman Laura Luke told the graduates during her commencement address. “I did one better: I earned my GED. Your GED is your golden ticket.”
Many of the graduates seated at the front of the ballroom nodded in agreement. For a myriad of reasons and over a scattering of years, they’d left school but realized the importance of earning their GED certificate. Landon Eavers, the salutatorian with this school year’s second-highest score on the test, told his fellow graduates that he left his arts high school out of frustration and disillusionment.
“We’re surrounded by this propaganda of this whole high school fantasy, the cheerleaders, the football players, all that,” he said. “But all that hustle and bustle and craziness, it just distracts us from what we accomplished to get here tonight.”
Eavers mentioned how having a GED might trail negative stereotypes or cause some to feel embarrassed, when really it should be just the opposite, he said.
“Don’t be discouraged if the traditional way doesn’t work for you,” Gross said. “It’s OK to follow another path or even to make your own.”