Nick Martinez Speaks to Graduating Class.Moraine Park Technical College held its 26th annual GED/HSED graduation ceremony on June 7. For the 2017-18 school year, 141 students received their General Education Development (GED) and High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) certificates.

LaToya Singleton of Kewaskum, Nicholas Martinez of Fond du Lac, and Delilah Hernandez of West Bend served as student speakers at the ceremony.

Singleton spoke on the importance of putting herself first through this journey.

“I remember thinking that I’ve already gotten so far in life without it, and began wondering why I had decided to go through this all over again,” said Singleton. “I decided right at that very moment that I was going through it because I deserved it. I wanted my husband and family to be proud of me, I wanted to show them that they should never give up and that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams. Most importantly, I wanted to feel proud of myself.”

Singleton will continue her education at Moraine Park this fall, she has chosen early childhood as her program of study.

Martinez shared his story of immigrating from Mexico when he was 15 and his struggle to adapt to a culture and language that were foreign to him.

“My dad passed away when I was 11 years old, so I had to start working at a young age to help my mom with expenses. I could not find a better future in my country, so I decided to come to the United States,” said Martinez. “When I came here everything was different- the language, culture, and lifestyle. I was in a foreign land. I worked at a farm for many years and took English classes at Moraine Park until I felt ready to start studying for my GED.”

Martinez was also was presented with an opportunity to join one of Moraine Park Technical College’s Economic & Workforce Development (EWD) boot camps. The boot camp programs teach skills that are unique to a particular career pathway and are designed to help combat the skilled worker shortage.  Martinez accepted the opportunity and began working towards his welding degree, in conjunction with his GED.

“I spent every day from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the classroom. On May 25th, I graduated from the welding program and since then I have been working full-time as a welder,” said Martinez. “This fall, I am planning on going back to school to continue my education. I believe education is the key that will open many doors.”

Hernandez also spoke about her journey and explained that, for her,  the time it took to get here isn’t a factor.

“Three weeks before the due date of my third child I decided to make a change and be consistent. I attended the eight-hour orientation class because I was determined to obtain my GED,” said Hernandez. “It has been 15 long years since my high school class graduated without me, but the length of time is not the relevant factor for me. What is relevant is that it has been accomplished and that I made it happen.”

And, Hernandez isn’t stopping here. She has plans to pursue a nursing degree, with a goal to be an emergency department nurse.

“The opportunities in the nursing industry are vast,” said Hernandez. “I plan on working throughout my career, taking it day by day, and enjoying the journey towards my future.”

Singleton and Martinez were recipients of a Moraine Park Foundation Basic Education Scholarship, this is the eighth year that the $500 scholarships have been awarded to one or more students pursuing further education at Moraine Park.

In order to earn their GED/HSED, the students had to pass all four subject portions of the nationally recognized GED tests, as well as meet requirements in employability, digital literacy, health, and civics.

For more information about Moraine Park’s GED testing, visit morainepark.edu/GED.

Written by Kristina Haensgen
Public Relations & Events Specialist