Published January 7, 2016
ATLANTA—The 10 most recent graduates of Centro Hispano Marista are now equipped to find better employment and to pursue further studies.
Centro Hispano Marista, also known as the Marist Hispanic Center, held commencement ceremonies for 10 graduates of its Adult Education GED program Dec. 15. Graduation was held in the Centennial Center of Marist School in Atlanta.
Director of the Centro Hispano Marista program, Dr. Leticia Valencia, greeted graduates and guests. Father John Harhager, SM, president of Marist School, presented the welcoming address.
“All the hard work, the sacrifices, your commitment and dedication to your studies has finally paid off. While you may not notice an immediate change in your lives as a result of your graduation, the diplomas you receive today represent a turning point for you,” said Father Harhager. “Take advantage of what your graduation signifies and the opportunities presented to you.”
The Centro Hispano Marista is a program for Hispanic adults that opened with help from the Society of Mary at Marist School in August 2012. Its purpose is to offer an opportunity for young adults to obtain GED certification. This enables them to pursue higher education and obtain better jobs. More than 650 students enroll every year. Dedicated volunteers teach the GED classes.
In her address to the assembly, Valencia said the graduates have accomplished a great milestone against all odds.
“As many of you know, the GED exam is harder to pass since 2014,” said Valencia. “This may have slowed us down but will not stop us or our students from achieving their educational goals. It will just make all our graduates better prepared for better jobs and ready to continue into college.”
Megan Mavity, academic dean, explained that with the joint effort of more than 40 volunteer teachers, substitutes and other volunteers, the Centro Hispano Marista can provide an affordable and quality educational program.
Leticia Ramirez, a representative of the 2015 class, was keynote speaker at the GED graduation. A native of Mexico and mother of four children, Ramirez enrolled in the program last January. She decided to pursue her dream of finishing her secondary education.
Conquering the fear of being too old to study and arranging her schedule to dedicate time for the program, Ramirez shared a conversation she had with Marilyn Albach, a former teacher.
Albach told her, “If you had waited one more month, you would have been one month older, and if you had waited one more year, you would have been one year older. So it is better to start now!”
Ramirez ended her remarks by encouraging the students preparing to take the GED exams.
“Please students, take advantage of this opportunity that the priests and teachers offer us here at the Centro Hispano Marista,” she said.
Father Harhager presented each graduate with a diploma declaring the recipient to have formally completed studies at the Centro.
The 2015 Centro Hispano Marista GED graduates are: Arizbeth Vazquez, Agustina Hernandez, Rodrigo Lopez Antonio, Eloisa Zarate Garcia, Angela del Carmen Tax Sique, Jayro Javier Euceda Adriano, Luis Enrique Cano Nambo, Leticia Ramirez, Jairo Fabian Valadez Valadez and Israel Roman Sanchez.
Angela del Carmen Tax Sique was the winner of the school’s Perseverance Award for her refusal to give up and to continue taking the exams until she passed. She epitomized the values of persistence and dogged determination that the Centro tries to instill in students. The valedictorian for the 2015 class was Jairo Fabian Valadez Valadez.
For more information about the Centro Hispano Marista program, visit www.centrohispanomarista.org.