Dayona Hammonds didn’t arrive at high school graduation in the usual way. By her own account, Hammonds lost focus on school in eighth grade, fell in with the wrong crowd, experimented with drugs, dropped out of high school and went from one minimum-wage job to another before deciding she wanted more out of life.
That’s when she enrolled in Adult Education classes at . It took Hammonds three tries to pass all sections of the GED Exam. Along the way, she attended a substance abuse program, faced the loss of her father and the birth of her first child.
But in April 2012, Hammonds re-took the exam and passed.
“When I checked to see my results and it stated that I had been issued a diploma, it was one of the most important days of my life,” said Hammonds, a Peekskill resident who shared her story with fellow graduates of the Adult Education Program commencement on BOCES’ Yorktown campus Friday.
Dayona was one of 93 graduates, some of whom came from half way around the world and others who came from towns and cities right in Westchester County.
BOCES Adult Education programs provide classes in basic education, GED preparation and English as a second language to approximately 3,700 students throughout Westchester and Putnam counties.
The ceremony also showcased a GED success story – that of alumni speaker Stephen Welles, who attended the program in the late 1970s and went on to a successful career in business and publishing.
“The successes in my life all started here at BOCES,” Welles said. “This is just the beginning of your journey and your possibilities are endless.”
Some of the other graduates included Ossining’s Cindy Herrera and Darwin Jacoman, whose parents attended their graduation ceremony at BOCES in Yorktown.
Sleepy Hollow’s Ashley Rivera, who graduated on Friday, was accompanied by her daughter Amiyah.
Thanks to Ellen Lane for submitting the above news to Patch. To post your announcements, click here.