FLCC graduates largest high school equivalency class

John Christensen
The Chronicle Express
Some of the graduates in Finger Lakes Community College’s largest high school equivalency class chose to participate in a ceremony at the main campus Aug. 25.

FINGER LAKES – Finger Lakes Community College celebrated 133 high school equivalency graduates recently, the largest class ever, in part due to the addition of distance learning during the pandemic.

About two dozen opted to participate in a ceremony in late August, held outdoors to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.

Kathleen Guy, director of adult basic education for the college, said the state Education Department’s decision to add distance learning and to accept previous Regents credit made it possible for more people to complete the program.

FLCC’s program allows people to work at their own pace with an instructor to prepare for the five exams necessary to earn a high school equivalency diploma.

FLCC President Robert Nye asked graduates to encourage others to enter the program.

“You should share your stories of where you come from and how you did it,” he said.

Among the graduates is Aracely Ortiz-Feria, who works full-time at the Agri-Business Child Development Center in Williamson. A native of Mexico, she came to the United States 10 years ago to join her husband.

While raising three children, she studied first for her citizenship exam, which she passed five years ago. Now that she has her high school equivalency diploma, she plans to finish a child development associate (CDA) credential while continuing to work on her English skills in preparation for further education.

Aracely Ortiz-Feria of Marion looks forward to spending more time with her husband and children, ages 12, 8 and 5, now that she has earned her high school diploma.

Ortiz-Feria took advantage of FLCC’s Spanish high school equivalency program, which the college offers at the Lyons Public Library on Broad Street.

With her instructor, Pamela Kehoe, acting as an interpreter, Ortiz-Feria offers the following advice: “Don’t quit. It’s not easy but it’s not impossible. If somebody tries, he or she can do it.”

She said she found the math section the most challenging but concluded that math is just about practice. In the short term, Ortiz-Feria plans to take a break from studying to spend more time with the family she thanks for their patience as she worked her way to citizenship, then high school graduation.

Information about FLCC’s high school equivalency and English as a second language programs is available at flcc.edu/abe or 585-785-1544. Classes are offered online and in-person days and evenings in Ontario, Wayne and Yates counties.

Local graduates by town:

Dresden: Camden Bailey, Chandler Jensen

Dundee: Ingrid Semans

Himrod: Jay Bailey

Lakemont: Hope Austin

Middlesex: Jennifer Boyack, Devin Caulkins

Naples: Jonathan Devers

Penn Yan: Alexis Brewer, Wyatt Condrey, Shayna Duval, Jamie Fry, Jaiden LaBarr, James Taylor, Andrew Weimer

Stanley: Sarah Scruton