MAY 2017

SJR State honors adult education graduates

joe pickens
Diana Nuñez-Alvarado
scholarship recepients

Beyond the family cheers and camera flashes, the annual 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, Gabriela Delacruz, Cutter Kingsbury and Tucker Williams were awarded SJR State scholarships based upon achieving honors scores on the exam, their individual academic and career planning goals, and an essay.

Dean of Adult Education Melissa Perry, Ed.D., congratulated the graduates on taking great strides to better their futures.

Perry likened the students to a quote by Paulo Coelho. “In a forest of a hundred thousand trees, no two leaves are alike. And no two journeys along the same path are alike,” she cited.

“Each of you has your own individual journey and reason for wanting to earn your GED - from desiring to further your education and seeking more opportunities, to serving as a role model to others,” Perry said. “All have experienced setbacks and obstacles, both personally and educationally. I hope that each of you feels a sense of accomplishment. You have been motivated. You have persevered. You have conquered.”

During the ceremony, graduate Diana Nuñez-Alvarado delivered the student address. The 27-year-old mother of three shared her story of overcoming adversity to attain her GED and to begin her journey to one day become a nurse. “We all have problems and obstacles in life, but don’t let that stop you from what you really want to do. Always believe in yourself and don’t give up,” she said.

The commencement speaker was SJR State President Joe Pickens, J.D., who congratulated the graduates on being among the few, statistically, who attempt the exam.

During his speech, Pickens asked the graduates, “What will you do with your GED, the gift you’ve just given yourself? Use it to prove you’re ready for more education.”

“Tonight is not a conclusion,” Pickens continued. “It is the beginning of an opportunity. It is your ticket, your gateway into the world of higher education, whether it is to earn your degree or certificate, or learn a new skill.”

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. Registration for the test prep classes is ongoing.

The General Education Development (GED) exam is a computer-based exam 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 Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

GED 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

Spring Class of 2017

SJR State President Pickens gives the commencement speech.

Three SJR State adult education students receive SJR State scholarships. From left Gabriela Delacruz, Cutter Kingsbury and Tucker Williams.

Graduate Diana Nuñez-Alvarado delivers the student address.

Putnam County residents recently participated in the Adult Education graduation at St. Johns River State College. The graduates received their State of Florida high school diploma through SJR State's GED testing center this academic year.



Susan Kessler
Director of Public Relations and Publications
(386) 312-4020