For most people, a high school graduation is a universal rite of passage at the age of 17, 18 or 19. For the 6 people who participated in the commencement exercises last night in the Black Box Theater in Columbia High School, this rite of passage was significantly delayed. However, through hard work and determination on their part and the dedication and commitment of their teachers and Cathy Garea, the administrator of the Basic Skills program, those seven students passed the GED test and have been able to move on to further their education, improve their work status or both. So who are some of these students who participated last night, of the 21 total who were enrolled in the GED Prep classes and passed the test in 2012? There is the 27 year old from Nigeria whose high school diploma from his native country was considered inadequate and who is now enrolled in a nursing education program at Hudson County Community College. There is the woman who left high school 34 years ago to have a child and has always wanted to get her diploma. She now has the goal of becoming a math teacher! And there is the young woman who was illegally taken to Yemen as a young child, forced into a marriage and who after two children and the death of her husband, was able to return to the United States and finally work toward her goal of a high school diploma. She is presently enrolled in Essex Community College where she hopes to get a degree in nursing or move on to study to become a nurse practitioner or even a doctor. These people are truly inspiring lifelong learners and The Adult School is so pleased that we can, through a federal grant directed by the NJ Department of Labor, help make these people and others like them accomplish their educational goals.