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RCC Middle College announces graduates

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RCC’s Middle College program recently graduated 20 students. From left are Tara Holmes, Lisa Kelly, Dominique Diggs, Samantha Elliott, Erik Schiller, Holly Mullins, Jennifer Williams and Joseph Marrow. Not pictured are Julie DesBiens, Michael Griffin, Joshua Huggins, Daysha Johnson, Calvin Kelly, Joseph McGuire, Amanda Mersino, Chad Myers, Robert Piatt, Samuel Pittman, Jose Rivas and Lauren Whitney.

At an evening ceremony on June 19, 20 students graduated from the Rappahannock Community College Middle College program.

This free program recruits ages 18-24 who left high school without graduating in order to instruct, advise and support them through the process of earning a high school diploma or GED. Staff members encourage all of the students to aspire to a college education as well.

The current group, the second to complete the program since Middle College began offering classes in August 2008, brings the total for the first year of operation to 36 graduates.

Those qualifying to receive high school diplomas were Dominique Diggs and Daysha Johnson of Essex County, and Joseph McGuire and Robert Piatt of Gloucester County.

Receiving GED certificates were Holly Mullins and Jennifer Williams, Middlesex County; Calvin Kelly and Lisa Kelly, Essex County; Joshua Huggins and Erik Schiller, Gloucester County; Lauren Whitney, King William County; Chad Myers, Lancaster County; Julie DesBiens and Samantha Elliott, Mathews County; Tara Holmes, Amanda Mersino and Jose Rivas, Richmond County; Michael Griffin and Joseph Marrow, Westmoreland County; and Samuel Pittman, West Point.

“You’ve given yourselves a raise,” said RCC vice president of workforce development Nancy Lloyd in her address to the graduates. She emphasized that their responsibility now is to plan for the future, and that they are ready to take the next step . . . if not yet into a higher-level job, then to more education, at RCC or elsewhere.

After Lloyd’s speech, honor graduates Jennifer Williams (Glenns Campus) and Joseph Marrow (Warsaw Campus) spoke to the class; and certificates and diplomas were then presented by Warsaw Campus GED instructor Lora Lemons.

In a surprise presentation, King and Queen County residents Eileen Long and Barry Allen, who are active supporters of youth in their community, gave graduate Lisa Kelly a special $500 scholarship. Kelly plans to use the award to pursue a nursing degree at RCC in the near future.

In her closing remarks, Middle College director Peggy Spiak expressed her gratification at having created a program that in its first year exceeded performance targets. However, as a shift in funding has cut the director’s position from full to part time, Spiak has regrettably had to step down. She took great pleasure in introducing the next director, Nancy Taliaferro, who will take over in early July. 

For further information about the Middle College program, call 804-333-6758.

posted 07.20.2009

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