GED commencement address

Commissioner Marilyn Brown's address to the GED graduates of the Godman Guild, given December 9, 2013

Thank You.

And thank you, President Williams and the Godman Guild Association, for the honor of speaking to you all this evening.

To the graduates, on behalf of my fellow Commissioners, John O’Grady and Paula Brooks, I’d like to offer my heartfelt congratulations on your accomplishment.

Earning your GED is a great achievement and you should all be very proud.  You have each worked extremely hard to get where you are today.  You have also benefitted from the support of your teachers, your family, and everyone at the Godman Guild.  As you reflect upon your success, keep in mind those who helped you along the way.  

Your dedication is an inspiration to your friends and family.  I’d like to tell you about someone whose dedication inspires me.  

My friend, Damario, is a young man who did not finish high school. Damario says that we all have to accept responsibility for the choices we make, good and bad.  

Damario made a commitment to better himself and worked hard until he finally earned his GED this summer. By staying focused, positive and optimistic, he is now taking classes towards a college degree.  Damario is proud to be taking his education seriously and working towards a better future.

You are all here today for one reason.  You chose to better your lives by pursuing education.  You chose to invest in your future.  

I encourage you not to leave this experience in your past.  The strengths that got you here today will propel you forward in life to better employment, higher education, and lifelong learning. This milestone is not an end, it is a beginning.  

Education is so important because it provides you with opportunities for a better life.  The GED you have earned will help you find a job that pays an average of 33 percent more each year.  That’s an additional $7,400 a year compared to someone without that GED.  Over a forty year career, the difference is more than $375,000.  

What we’re celebrating today is not a small achievement. I encourage all of you to build on today’s success and continue to persevere.  The rewards for continuing your education are even greater.  

A degree from a technical or vocational school can lead to high paying jobs like dental hygienists, construction managers, and electrical technicians that pay over $50,000 per year.  

Having a college degree can earn you an additional one million dollars over the course of your career.  Your GED is a great start, and it is the first step toward becoming the “Million Dollar You”.

I’d like to recognize each of you for deciding to take this step in your lives.  It will have a positive influence on your families, your friends, and your community. I know that everyone here at Godman Guild is also extremely proud of you, and knows that you have made a wise investment in your future.  

As Ben Franklin, our county’s namesake once said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

On behalf of the Board of Commissioners, I extend my best wishes for your future.

Thank you.