Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

State News

May 18, 2014

Equivalency diplomas to open new doors for grads

TERRE HAUTE (AP) — Tina Compton and Mary Fagg were both young when they decided to quit school. But now, in their 40s, they have been given “a second chance at life.”

Compton and Fagg were two of the 47 individuals who walked across the Woodrow Wilson Middle School auditorium stage Wednesday night during the Vigo County School Corp. High School Equivalency Graduation.

“For many of our graduates, the HSE has been a second chance at life, a chance to better themselves and provide for their families,” Jeff Clutter, director of the adult education program for the Vigo County School Corp., said at the ceremony. “For whatever reason, they were not able to complete high school, but by earning their High School Equivalency Diploma, they have opened doors to opportunities they would not have had without it.”

Compton and Fagg, who described themselves as “best friends” and “like sisters,” were all smiles as they hugged on stage to congratulate each other for their accomplishments, decades in the making.

“It’s amazing. I can’t put it into words,” Fagg told the Tribune-Star when asked about how she felt upon receiving the diploma.

Fagg was 16 when she decided to quit school, a time when “I was going around with the wrong crowd.”

Now 46, she decided to get her diploma to fulfill a promise she made to her father before he passed away two years ago. Her father, Fagg said, told her “to reach for the stars and not to stop.”

She also wanted to show her two daughters that she can do it.

“They are my inspiration,” she said before the ceremony, as tears fell from her eyes.

But she didn’t do it alone.

Compton and Fagg, who also work together, went through the HSE process together. They studied together; attended classes together, took the test together; and on Wednesday, graduated together.

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