SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex (WSWHE) BOCES held a graduation ceremony on Thursday, August 4, honoring its High School Equivalency (HSE) Program graduates. The ceremony was well-received by the graduates and their support systems. Nearly 60 people were in attendance including graduates accepting their certificates and family and friends cheering them on.

Emily O’Neill, from Saratoga Springs, was the first student speaker of the night. She thanked her family for their endless support and commended her classmates for this great achievement. “It feels great to complete a goal. There is a sense of relief and satisfaction. Graduating is a big deal. We did a great thing. It makes me wonder what other great things I can do. There is more to come. There are more goals to be met – even bigger and brighter ones,” O’Neill said.

Graduate Caiden Tuller from Gansevoort was the next student speaker. Tuller said, “I’m grateful for the opportunity to reforge my bond with education and in a classroom setting. I was given a second chance in completing my base education. But, I do not believe that I am done. You shouldn’t be either. There is a lot ahead of us and this is the time for us to truly throw ourselves into whatever comes next. Whatever it is that ignites you, you can do it!”

Tuller credited a large part of his success to his teacher, Frank, for believing in him and his classmates. He plans to continue his education and earn another degree.

The high school equivalency diploma opens up new possibilities for these students such as new job opportunities, goals for continuing education, or attending a technical school. They beamed with newfound confidence while being presented their certificates, school officials said.

During the ceremony, Dr. Turina Parker, Assistant Superintendent for Educational and Support Programs at WSWHE BOCES, spoke to the students about believing in themselves. “You’ve found your passion. Our hope is that you’ve learned that within you, you have the capacity to see things through. Above all, you have the capacity to succeed,” stated Parker.

The WSWHE BOCES High School Equivalency (HSE) Preparation Program offers students pathways to earn their high school equivalency diploma. Students learn at their own pace from as little as a few months to years.

Study programs can be taken in-person or via a hybrid method. Individual attention is given to students to prepare them for the GED exam. HSE helps encourage and motivate adult learners to get the education they need to take the exam and earn their diplomas.