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Wood County ceremony honors adults who earned high school equivalency diplomas

Members of the Mid-Ohio Valley Adult Education and Wood County Adult Learning Center 2020 and 2021 graduating classes listen during graduation inside the Actors Guild Theatre on Thursday evening. (Photo by Tyler Bennett)

PARKERSBURG — The Mid-Ohio Adult Education and Wood County Adult Learning Center hosted a recognition ceremony Thursday evening inside the Actors Guild of Parkersburg theater for those who obtained their high school equivalency diploma between May 2020 and May 2021.

Not being able to host graduation last spring, 21 out of the 53 total graduates attended the ceremony and received their diplomas in person.

The ceremonies’ keynote speaker was Warren Elementary School Principal Joe Oliverio.

Oliverio is a Pleasants County native and was for a long time associated with education in both Wood County and at the state level, before moving to the other side of the river to Ohio.

During his speech, he told the graduating class that their journey to get to this milestone wasn’t picture perfect, but the fact that they continued on the path despite the ups and downs will make them resilient later in life.

Keynote speaker Joe Oliverio, principal of Warren Elementary School, speaks during the graduation inside the Actors Guild Theatre on Thursday evening. (Photo by Tyler Bennett)

“Some of you encountered the trials and tribulations of life’s ups and downs. Some of you needed to delay this night because you took care of your family. Through it all, you eventually reach out and prepare yourself for the time, energy and coursework to complete your high school equivalency diploma. That’s something that no one can ever take away,” Oliverio said.

“As Voltaire said ‘Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her; but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.’ You’ve played your cards and you’re the winners tonight, because of how you’ve played your game,” he said.

Students had to deal with following COVID protocols throughout the year and with constant construction where Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) testing was taking place. TASC administrator Bruce Goody said he was proud to see the students completing one last hurdle despite the distractions.

“So all different days of the week, in all different times of the day. We took your temperature, we spaced you out and we sent you home to study,” Goody said. “Some of you ignored the construction in the new center, but we made it through all of that, to give you some memories that nobody else is going to have.”

The graduates of the 2020 and 2021 classes were: Cora Adams, Nellie Amos, Amanda Bailey, Andrei Baltazar, Kaytlynn Banks, Anthony Barker, Cody Batten, Sasha Bee, Tommy Bosley, Deborah Bounds, Richard Brown, Preston Brush, Cody Byers, Chris Clendenin, Cameron Cox, Maddy Cunningham, Aerianna Farnsworth, Carlos Flores, Landon Gainer, Nora Gordon, Jade Graham, Samuel Greene, Samuel Harvey, Briana Hesse, Austin Leek, Jerry Leggett, Chole Lott, Jasmine Mar, Adeline Marchal, Liam McIntosh, Dakota McNemar, Kayla Menking, Sierra Miller, Kendra Monroe, Lindsey Moore, Trinity Naylor, Brenden Post, Brady Powell, Brianna Powell, Abigail Ridenhour, Scott Rogers, Ashley Schofield, Ashley Schuler, Mikhail Short, Chad Spencer, Nicole Stivers, Jennifer Swiger and Tyler Teters.

Tyler Bennett can be reached at tbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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