GARY — One by one, the 25 graduates of Gary Middle College walked to their seats, blushing with each shout of joy coming from proud family and friends during Thursday’s commencement.
Gary Middle College graduates earned their high school diploma and also earned 35 college credits through the school’s partnership with Ivy Tech Community College. Its adult education program has helped non-traditional students earn their high school diploma and pays for all students to take college courses at Ivy Tech.
Among the graduates, Josette Hubbard, of Gary, expressed how this was a personal feat that couldn’t have happened without the inspiration from her father looking down on her and guiding her every step of the way.
“We all have our unique stories and battles but we all never gave up,” Hubbard said. “The teachers are outstanding and help immensely when it comes to reaching our goals. I’ve tried several times to graduate, and with my father’s recent death it hasn’t made things easier; however, my father is my inspiration. I know he’s here right now watching me and I hope I’ve made him proud.”
Principal Joe Arredondo’s energy was contagious to his students, as he made sure each and every one knew how proud he was of them, giving everyone a pep-talk before they made their entrance.
“Gary College is a one-of-a-kind hybrid high school,” Arredondo said. “We have students that are 16 years of age and older. Our graduating class ties a mixture of students who have transferred from traditional high schools or have come to us from a school that has possibly closed, or students who have failed and became sidetracked but ultimately chose to never give up. Words cannot describe how proud I am for all of my graduating students.”
Speaker Ron McCullough gave the students his 10 rules of success.
“The journey you all are going on doesn’t stop today, it continues on,” McCullough said. “Your attitude determines your altitude. How far you’re willing to go, how far will your attitude take you.
“Not many people know about (Gary Middle College), and maybe someone reading this story can become inspired to earn their high school diploma,” Arredondo said. “Our graduates prove you can learn at any age, and we are all here to help make sure our students earn that rite of passage.”