By David Medina, Contributor
HARTFORD — Betty Ayers spent most of her 77 years raising children. She raised two of her own, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
On June 5, she will get up on the stage at the Bulkeley High School Auditorium and receive the high school diploma she earned as one of 145 graduates of Hartford Public Schools’ Adult Education Center.
Inspired by her life’s story, the staff at the center at 110 Washington Street also selected Ayers to address her fellow graduates at the commencement ceremony.
Ayers said that, during her many years of raising children, she was constantly seeking out government programs that provided her with opportunities to study English, Math and typing. Under the city’s Senior Aid Program, she worked in customer service in the Office of the Mayor from 2003 to 2008, when her position was eliminated.
She enrolled in the Adult Education program last year, she says, because the only way to get ahead in life is to have a diploma.
“It has been a great pleasure to have Ms. Ayers in our program,” said Thomas A. Blake, the center’s social worker. “She has served as a role model for our students and shared her wisdom with both students and staff.”
The center will present diplomas from both the GED Preparation Program and the National External Diploma Program, which assesses the high school level skills of adults, like Ms. Ayers, based on their life and work experiences. Hartford State Representative Angel Arce will be the keynote speaker for the ceremony.
According to Dr. Tina Jeter, the director of the center, 95 percent of the graduating students there are employed and many have amazing stories to tell of perseverance and overcoming barriers to earn their diploma. We welcome your coverage of this event.