Turning Point Education Center graduates 32 Friday
Turning Point Education Center (TPEC), the Adult Education aspect of Open Arms Christian Ministries, held a graduation ceremony Friday evening at Linton’s First Christian Church, to a record crowd of 202 attendees, including guests and grads.
Families and friends filled the rows of chairs inside the sanctuary of the church for the event, cheering loudly with pride as the graduates took the stage to accept their certificates and a gift of a personalized bible.
The ceremony began with remarks from Marty Corey of Turning Point Education Center. Corey explained the center has been in operation since 2003 and operates under the umbrella of Open Arms Christian Center.
“From 2005 on, there have been over 200 GED or high school equivalency graduates from TPEC. We also had 83 high school diplomas distributed during that time. We are very proud of what they have accomplished,” Corey said.
TPEC increases its graduation rates yearly, with 213 earning their HSE or diploma in the last three years. Just this year, TPEC has graduated 63 so far.
The commencement address was given by Patti Danner, a former TPEC student who graduated in the organizations first graduation ceremony in June 2016. Danner graduated with honors, and went on to become a reporter with the Greene County Daily World.
“I am going to give you all a gift, a magical gift,” Danner said, before passing out small mirrors to all of the graduates.
“This gift is to allow you to look behind, and to notice the decisions and choices you have made thus far in your life. It is also to give you a chance to see the person who is in charge of your life, and to say thank you. That person is you.”
Graduates stood and proudly turned their tassels, to indicate their readiness for the next steps of their lives.
The graduating class included a mother and daughter duo, Whitley Abney of Linton and her mom Wendee Staisch of Jasonville.
“She (Whitley) started going to class, and she said, ‘hey mom, you should come too,’ and so I did,” said Staisch.
The two went to classes together, studied together, took their HSE tests at the same time and graduated together Friday.
Classes are held by Instructor Hilary Fusco at Open Arms Christian Ministries Monday through Thursday. Instructor Curt Carr teaches at Rebuilt Ministries in Bloomfield as well as the Open Arms/TPEC location Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Rena Stevens is a third instructor, teaching at Linton’s WorkOne, supervising distance learning and teaching other students on a one-on-one basis.
Graduates recognized Friday evening include: Whitley Abney, Matthew Bland, Jasmine Campbell, Jessie Carver, Ashley Conklin, Jesse Copeland (with honors), Mitchell Crouch (with honors), Tyler Crouch, Krislyn Dodd, Laurel English, Morgan Flanagan, Taylor Floradis, Carol French, Michael Gilreath, Ray Harlan, James Harroll, Kasey Hodge, Gordon Hunter, Michele Inman, Allisan Jayne, Mark Johnson, Treyce Jones, Levi Keuhn, Kenneth Lyon, Ryan Major, Ty McCorkle, Dakota Miller, Dany Miller, Luke Miller, Austin Nagy, Cristin Parsley, Chad Phillips, Hana Potter, Ralph Ravelette, Florence Rego, Harli Roberts, John Rutledge, Christian Sergent, Eric Sherrill, Jordan Sipes, Christopher Snow, Dustin Snowden, Levi Snowden, Victoria Staggs (with honors), Wendee Staisch and Michaela Wilkinson.