John Carridice and Nomar Barrera, two outstanding students who earned their GED diplomas at Lehman College’s Adult Learning Center, will each be awarded scholarships on June 19, at CUNY’s Annual Peter Jennings Scholarship Laurel Award Ceremony, which recognizes ten exemplary GED graduates who overcame hardships and plan to continue their education at CUNY colleges.
State Education Commissioner Dr. John B. King, Jr. will be the keynote speaker for the ceremony, which will be broadcasted on CUNY TV from the CUNY Graduate Center.
Carridice worked two jobs at The Children’s Aid Society as a driver and security guard while taking care of his two children and attending night classes three days a week at the Adult Learning Center. His perseverance paid off as he received his GED in 2012 and is now enrolled in his first semester at Bronx Community College as a full-time student.
“He was able to manage his time and his studies better than almost any other student I have ever had,” said Brian Rausse, GED coordinator at Lehman’s Adult Learning Center. “Most of his life he has had to do a lot on his own. This award would remind him that there are people out there pulling for him to succeed.”
Carridice is interested in studying child psychology with the hope of helping others avoid some of the issues that he faced throughout his life.
“I hope to achieve my associates degree in psychology by December 2014,” he said. “With my degree, my sons can see the hard work that I put in to get here.”
Barrera started taking classes at the Adult Learning Center in September 2012 and passes his GED exam three months later on his first try. In addition to his above average GED test scores, Barrera scored a 530 on the writing section of the test.
“Nomar knew what he wanted and worked as hard as he could to achieve it,” said his instructor Bernard Connaughton. “What distinguished Nomar is his ability to successfully juggle significant personal responsibilities and school.”
Despite dropping out of Christopher Columbus high school in 2009 to help his family secure their housing, Barrera wanted to return to school as soon as he could to pursue a career in electrical engineering. While studying for his GED, Barrera also worked and helped take care of his younger brothers and sisters.
“I now have a second chance at a fresh start,” he said. “I have proven I can do it and all I had to do was put my mind into it and tell myself there is nothing stopping me from going to college.”
The scholarships are named in honor of renowned ABC news anchor Peter Jennings, a firm supporter of CUNY’s GED program and who spoke passionately about the hardships faced by many GED graduates.
The Lehman College Adult Learning Center is a program of the Institute for Literacy Studies.