More than 80 students participated in the Metro North Adult Basic Education graduation ceremony at Anoka High School June 12.
Metro North ABE helped 556 students earn their GED or adult diploma this past year.
Six students spoke at the ceremony: Luis Bustamante, Theresa Lambrecht-Johnson, Vernis McKizzie, Nicole Nelson, Georgia Shields and Antonio Blanquet.
Shields was met with deafening applause when she announced that she earned her diploma at age 70.
Shields was forced to drop out of high school and marry when she became pregnant. “In my day, that was the way things worked,” she said.
She expressed her gratitude to all of those who supported and encouraged her as she fulfilled her dream of obtaining a diploma.
“You have overcome the challenges life has put in front of you, you have stuck with it, you have placed a priority on education, and you have achieved this tremendous goal,” Superintendent Dennis Carlson said, addressing all of the graduates when he spoke at one final graduation before retirement. “You have accomplished this milestone. You have much to offer this community and this world.”
Carlson has spoken at 30 high school graduation ceremonies and shaken hands with more than 15,000 graduates in his career, he estimates. “You are the graduates I am most proud of,” he said.
Metro North ABE is a consortium sponsored by nine community education partners: Anoka-Hennepin, Brooklyn Center, Centennial, Columbia Heights, Elk River, Forest Lake, Fridley, Spring Lake Park and St. Francis school districts.
Metro North ABE offers free classes for individuals who are 16 or older and not enrolled in a secondary school.
Olivia Koester is at [email protected]