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BCA has 16 graduates
Adult students earn high school diplomas
Members of the Barton County Academy Class of 2022 pose for a photo Tuesday, following their commencement ceremony at Trinity United Methodist Church in Great Bend. Sixteen students earned diplomas from area high schools. - photo by photos by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

Sixteen students received their high school diplomas Tuesday when the Barton County Academy held its 2022 commencement ceremony at Trinity United Methodist Church in Great Bend.

The church’s pastor, Chris Lehew, gave the address, telling the graduates, “Nothing can stop you now.”

Not that they won’t experience challenges, he said.

“Success is sweetest when it’s cultivated and authentic. Success comes from failure; it teaches us so much.” He urged the graduates to “Keep looking for ways to make your life better, your family life better, and your community better by learning, getting involved, giving back and looking for new opportunities."

Three of the graduates chose to speak briefly. Silvia Flores, Maria Teresa Chavez and Rosa L. Perez all had simple comments of thanks to God and the people who supported them.

“Today is a perfect day to start living your dreams,” Chavez said.

The academy allows adults age 19 and up to earn a high school diploma as well as workplace enhancement skills and the English language, if needed. Classes are offered through the ESSDACK learning center located at 1010 Taft St. in Great Bend.

ESSDACK’s seven regional learning centers, which also include the Stafford County Learning Center in Stafford,  announced the graduation of 72 students from its high school diploma programs. 

“We are so proud of the work our students have put in to complete their high school diplomas,” said Carmen Zeisler, director of Learning Centers in Hutchinson.

Students who participate in the program receive a high school diploma, not a GED.

“The  GED is often a 'faster' option, though not always a better option for our learners,” said Zeisler. “The GED is not free and does not open up the same opportunities as a diploma, but faced with the reality of how much time it will take to finish a high school diploma, students choose the shorter route. Often, they invest time and energy to try and complete it and end up back at our center because they could not pass it. We are also seeing an influx of learners who obtained their GED in the early 1990s coming back to work on their high school diploma because their employers require it now.”

Patty Fletchall with the Barton County Academy recognized three graduates who excelled and have been named into the National Adult Education Honor Society. They are Cielo Romero Cabrales, Silvia Flores and Lilia Patricia Guyton. Fletchall also presented each graduate with a red rose and asked them to pass it on to someone who helped them in their journey.

The 16 graduates in the Class of 2022 are: Cayden Allen Dino Bouse, Jayce Lee Brewer, Cielo Romero Cabrales, Ray Cesar, Maria Teresa Chavez, Silvia Flores, Katlin A. Goebel, Lilia Patricia Guyton, Tamara Michelle Wiley Hulsether, Tia McNett, Rosa L. Perez, Andrew Peterson, Alejandro Fernando Prieto, Ashlynn Hamby-Raya, Teairah Anne Michelle Randa and Darren Ross. 

ESSDACK Learning Centers will begin enrolling for the fall semester on August 1. Visit to learn more about our Learning Centers and to enroll.