MAY 2015

SJR State honors adult education graduates

GED Graduates

Beyond the family cheers and camera flashes, the adult education graduation at St. Johns River State College represented more than just the passing of an exam - it represented countless individual achievements, struggles and challenges that are the very fabric of every GED diploma.

During the ceremony, Anita Anderson, Sammie Bootle and Emily Vaughn were awarded SJR State scholarships based upon their test scores, their individual academic and career planning goals, and an essay.

The commencement speaker for the event was SJR State President Joe Pickens, J.D., who congratulated the graduates on their courage to step out of their comfort zones and take great strides to better their futures.

During his address, Pickens shared his “Top 10 Qualities of Leadership” with the graduates, highlighting the importance of serving others and leading by example. Pickens also stressed the importance of giving others the opportunity to lead as well as possessing blind faith.

 “What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?” he asked the graduates. “Someone once believed we could invent a horseless carriage. Someone once believed we could find a cure for polio. Someone once believed we could send a man to the moon.”

“As you embark on new opportunities, this may be the most important aspect to remember . . . You have what it takes; you can do it!” Pickens said. “Great things happen because people believe beyond their fears. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, and you will be amazed at what might happen.”

Graduate and scholarship recipient Anita Anderson couldn’t agree more. “I decided to get my GED because I knew that if I wanted to get into a successful field in any kind of industry, I would need that diploma under my belt,” she said. “It feels absolutely gratifying to walk across the stage with my cap, gown and tassel and receive a diploma many people might give up on. I was simply overwhelmed.”

Anderson was excited to receive an SJR State scholarship. “When I heard my name being called for the scholarship, I instantly started crying,” she said. “I had hoped I would receive it, and I feel so lucky and grateful to have this opportunity,” she said. Anderson plans to pursue an Associate in Science degree in nursing and has high hopes for the future. “Who knows what doors could open now?” she said.        
SJR State’s adult education program is available for individuals who wish to improve their skills and/or prepare to earn a Florida high school diploma through the General Educational Development (GED) program. The program consists of self-paced and computer-assisted instruction, use of textbooks and handouts, and dedicated, qualified instructors.

As of January 2014, the General Education Development (GED) exam is delivered as a computer-based and is administered on the SJR State Palatka campus. There are four subject areas to the test, and test-takers may take up to two subject areas per day.

The GED test is administered at SJR State’s Palatka campus on Mondays from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.                                                              

Registration and payment is available online or by telephone at 877-392-6433. The cost of the exam is $32 per subject area. For more information, call the Adult Education department at 386-312-4080, or visit the website at


Three SJR State students receive SJR State scholarships based upon their test scores, their individual academic and career planning goals, and an essay. From left, SJR State Board member Brian Keith, Emily Vaughn, Anita Anderson, SJR State Board member Marlene Lagassee, Samuel Bootle and SJR State President Joe Pickens, J.D.