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Students graduate from Gadsden State’s GED Program

Oxford, Ala. — Gadsden State Community College’s Adult Education Services hosted a graduation ceremony for 46 students earning their general equivalency diploma. The milestone event was held Oct. 4 at the Oxford Performing Arts Center.

“This is our first graduation since before the COVID pandemic,” said Dr. Matthew Burttram, director of Adult Education Services. “This year, we all decided that it’s time for us to get together and celebrate our GED graduates.”

Burttram recognized the instructors and staff in Adult Education Services by calling them “real-life super heroes.”

“They change lives every day through their encouragement and dedication to our students,” he said.

He also recognized the family and friends of the graduates.

“No person graduates alone,” he said. “There’s always someone who walks along with you on this journey. Whether it be a friend, a family member or an instructor, someone has been with you as you studied for your GED.

“Some people question whether or not a GED is worth the work and effort. Because of your support system, you are the ones who said, ‘Yes! Yes, it is worth it.’ Everyone here tonight joins me when I say we are so proud of you.”

Dr. Kathy Murphy, president at Gadsden State, said she is also proud of the graduates for not having excuses when it comes to furthering their education.

“We care about you and your future,” she said. “Gadsden State cares about you. We celebrate you because you got the (excuses) out of the way and got your GED. Now, go and do great things, but I want you to come back and continue your education at Gadsden State Community College. We want to continue supporting you.”

The graduation ceremony included speeches from GED graduates Ejidia Elena Pascual, Yancey “Sawyer” Munsch and Lindsey Rogers. Alan Smith, dean of Workforce Development, awarded a full-scholarship to Reannea Lanfair.

“She had to overcome numerous obstacles in order to be here tonight,” he said. “She dealt with bullying, which caused her family to try homeschooling. After the 10th grade, she began taking GED classes but COVID forced the in-person classes to close, once again putting a roadblock on her path to graduation.”

In 2021, she tragically lost her son after 35 weeks of pregnancy. She then decided to enroll in GED classes at Gadsden State to finish what she started.

“I immediately recognized her determination to get her high school diploma, so we set a series of goals for achieving her dream,” said Janet Turner, a GED program instructor. “She finally earned her GED in spite of many personal and financial obstacles.”

Lanfair will continue her education as a student at Gadsden State thanks to the scholarship awarded.

“To be awarded this scholarship means so much to me and will help me continue to fight for my education,” she said.

Six students received $500 scholarships to Gadsden State. They are Kateri Barrett, Christy McGowan, Edwin Israel, Samuel Howard, Jasmine Deegan and Ashley Lemons. All of the GED completers will receive tuition for one free class at Gadsden State as well.

The GED graduates include Ruth Bain, Harlie Baldwin, Kateria Barrett, Kaitlynn Nicole Brown, Emily Chalfant, Mandi Chivington, Arianna Collett, Shanika Crook, Alexander Morgan Dailey, Jasmine Deegan, Michael Fisher, Matthew Frix, Amy Frohock, James Fuller, Lori Hammett, Elizabeth Hershberger, Jacob Hodes, Thomas Paine Horton, Samuel Howard, Travis Ingram, Edwin Israel, Shelby Jones, Jomaica Kellom, Ashley King, Reannea Lanfair, Ashley Lemons, Zoie Grace Leghan Letson, Christy McGowan, Kristina Meeks, Charishma Mehta, Yancey Munsch, Chandler Page, Ejidia Elena Pascual, Chad Price, Destany Rainey, Lilia Ramos, Johnathan Rogers, Lindsey Rogers, Benjamin Schall, Brittany Smith, Marshall Lee Smith, Kerry Stubbs, Matthew Surface, Brandon Thompson and Connor Trammell.

After Burttram and Murphy awarded the diplomas, Dr. Farrah Hayes, dean of Academic Programs and Services, challenged the graduates to keep improving themselves and their quality of life.

“I’m proud of you for showing up,” she said. “You showed up to class. You showed up and took the test. We are so proud of you. It has been our goal to get you across the stage. We’ve done that. You’ve done that. Now, we want to do it again. We want you to continue your education at Gadsden State. We want to celebrate you over and over again. We are here to always help you. We want you to continue to show up.”

For more information about the GED program as well as other programs and services offered in Adult Education Services, visit

Alan Smith, dean of Workforce Development, awards a scholarship to Reannea Lanfair, a graduate of Gadsden State’s GED program

Alan Smith, dean of Workforce Development, awards a scholarship to Reannea Lanfair, a graduate of Gadsden State’s GED program. The scholarship was awarded during the graduation ceremony Oct. 4 at the Oxford Performing Arts Center.

See more photos from the event here: 

2022 GED Graduation Ceremony