Press release by Michigan City Area Schools:

Administrators, staff, school board members, families, and friends cheered on adult graduates from across LaPorte County as they gathered at the Holdcraft Performing Arts Center in Michigan City on Wednesday, May 31, to celebrate the achievement of an important milestone: a high school diploma.

Forty-five of the 78 adults who had earned High School Equivalency diplomas during the 2022-23 school year opted to participate in the ceremony.

Julie Fregien, the LaPorte County Adult Education Director, opened the ceremony with a warm welcome and introduced the four student speakers as well as the keynote speaker, Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins. The student speakers included Michael Lehman, Kempty McKay, Jackson White, and Michelle Skelton. They each shared their own experiences and the journey they took to complete their education.

Keynote speaker Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins, the Superintendent of Michigan City Area Schools, commended the students regarding their perseverance, determination, hard work, and accomplishments. “We are all very proud of you and the courageous manner in which you continued your pursuit of your education despite challenges you may have faced,” she said. She emphasized to the students that their efforts will now open doors to higher education or career success.

Eason-Watkins acknowledged the adult education instructors, parents, spouses, relatives, and friends of the graduates, applauding them for their support and encouragement. “Because these caring individuals were there every step of the way,” she said, “you were able to succeed.”

She also reinforced the ceremony’s theme, an anonymous quote: “Be that person who roots for others, who tells a stranger they look amazing and encourages others to believe in themselves and their dreams.”

“Respect and compassion for others matter as much as the academics,” Dr. Eason-Watkins concluded.

Michigan City Area Schools administers the LaPorte County Adult Education program. Diplomas at the ceremony were conferred by MCAS Superintendent Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins and Associate Superintendent Wendel McCollum, along with School Board Vice President Tom Dombkowski and Board Members Deb Chubb, Michael Gresham, and Phyllis Stark.

40 of the Adult Education graduates this year earned “College and Career Ready” recognition from the State of Indiana due to their high scores on subject-area High School Equivalency exams. The designation enables them to apply for admission to any postsecondary institution in Indiana without remediation.