Aiken Tech post challenge graduates say goodbye as program moves on

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019
News 12 This Morning

AIKEN, S.C. WRDW/WAGT) -- Aiken Technical College waves goodbye to yet another graduating class from post challenge; a program allowing high school seniors to earn an applied science certificate.

But these graduates are unlike any other -- they will be the last class to ever graduate from the program at Aiken Technical College.

The group of students was left with words of encouragement as they embark on the next chapter of their life.

"The spectators they only want to look at what you're doing or not doing, and then you have the regulators who try to regulate your life, regulate your destiny; stay away from taters," said Pastor Anthony Pelham while giving the final address in the gymnasium at Aiken Technical College.

Each word having a deeper meaning.

"It's your turn and your turn and your turn to dream and make that dream come alive this must happen if my dream is to survive."

The speech reminds the grads of just how much work it's taken to get to the finish line. For students like Jalisa Davis, at times the day felt as if it would never come.

"It's just been a long, hard journey through these few months. The first part and the last part and I'm just so excited like I can't even believe that I've done it," Davis explains.

The heart of each graduate races as they think back to the beginning of the 20-week program, eager for what the next chapter holds.

"Five months of work and you have to live with a bunch of dudes and you go to school every day. You definitely have to get out of your head sometimes, you have to pay attention to what's going on around you and pay attention to the things that you need to pay attention to. You have to focus on your goals and what you need to do to get there," says graduate Caleb Pearson.

Many students were awarded their certificates and take off to spread their wings, but for Aiken Tech, this year's graduation is bittersweet. It's the seventh cohort to complete the program and the last.

Seeing the program go is painful for not only the faculty and staff but, the graduates.

"It's a little sad because I really got connected to my instructors here they were really nice and helpful so it's hard but, knowing the program is going to continue somewhere else is helping me too," said Davis

The students in the program gained their certificates in high-demand areas. They were given the choice between basic tower and wireless installation, computer technology-networking, patient care assisting, and production technology.

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