The Spanish Baroque style theater offers the perfect setting for this particular event. GED graduation is a dramatic and emotional celebration of triumph over the circumstances and personal challenges that each student faced during his or her journey.
And the party is getting bigger.
The number of GED graduates through Rio Salado’s Adult Basic Education (ABE) department more than doubled in five years from 247 in 2006 to 533 in 2011. The class of 2012 is expected to continue the trend of growth.
“We’re thrilled to see the program growing,” said Lilybeth Brazones, adult basic education program director for Rio Salado College. “It is great that we are able to help our students. They will have so many more options now in terms of their post-secondary education and career.”
This year’s GED graduation student speaker, Lisa Murillo, is a participant in the six-month AZ-IBEST Program. Students in the program take 24 credits of dental assisting technology classes in addition to contextualized GED instruction.
“The program is followed by a 200-hour internship in a dentist’s office,” said Blair Liddicoat, associate dean of adult basic education at Rio Salado College. “It is a very rigorous program and we are happy to have an IBEST student speaking at the GED Graduation.”
The AZ-IBEST program is an example of the college’s STAR-PATH model for providing students with college and occupational pathways that will lead to gainful employment in a chosen career path.
Rio Salado College is one of ten Maricopa Community Colleges and the largest online public community college in the nation, serving nearly 70,000 students annually with more than 43,000 online. Founded in 1978, Rio Salado offers degree and certificate programs and general education courses. The college also provides support for dual enrollment, military and incarcerated students. It is the largest provider of adult basic education in Arizona and served more than 9,500 students last year.