Bainbridge State College Adult Education was pleased to honor 25 GED graduates on Tuesday, May 17, at the Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center during the annual GED graduation ceremony.
Debbie McIntrye, the Director of Adult Education, welcomed the guests and congratulated the graduates on a job well done.
“Congratulations, graduates. You did what we asked and worked hard—and now you are here today,” she said.
The student speaker was introduced as Brittany Marie Long, a Miller County resident, wife and mother.
Long shared her journey through the Bainbridge State College Adult Education Program. She became a mother at a young age—and decided to leave school to raise her children.
“I never thought going back to school would be an option for me,” said Long. “I would often say things like I don’t have time to go back to school or I’ve been out of school too long and I’m not smart enough to pass. The truth is I was scared of failing.”
After much thought about going back to school and becoming a better role model for her children, Long enrolled in the BSC Adult Education Program.
She said, “I tell my kids to do good in school and that they can be anything they want to be in life as long as they set their minds to it. I forgot to take my advice and chase my dreams. I was tired of being afraid of failing—so I took the first step. I enrolled in GED school classes.”
With the assistance of Becky Braswell, the BSC Adult Education GED Instructor in Miller County, Long was able to pass the test on her first attempt. She realized that in order to succeed, her “desire for success had to be greater than her fear of failure.”
“The day I got my diploma in my hand was one of the proudest days of my life,” said Long. “To see my name printed on that paper and know how hard I worked to receive it, brought pure joy to me. My kids and little sisters now look up to me— and I want to show them how important an education can be.”
According to Long, sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step in life.
She encouraged, “Tiptoe if you must—but take that first step. I took mine. Don’t let fear stop you from being successful.”
Currently, Long is enrolled in the Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN) program at Bainbridge State College and finished her semester with a 4.0 GPA.
Lauren Harrell, the Executive Director of Institutional Development, also spoke to the students as the keynote speaker. She gave them several pieces of advice by comparing their journey to hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail—which included optimism, keeping good company, being prepared and willing to work hard.
“Climbing mountains isn’t easy, but you must keep putting one foot in front of the other,” she said. “When you trip on a root and fall down along the path, and you will, get up—dust yourself off and keep walking towards you goal. If there are obstacles in your path hindering you from continuing on your journey, figure out how to navigate through them. Remember, nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain. Be willing to sweat and cry—but never give up. Tonight, I want to tell you congratulations, graduates. Now, go climb your mountain.”