Friday served as a day to finish what she started over 40 years ago for Suzanne French.
At the age of 17, French found out she was pregnant.
“At that time, when 17-year-olds get pregnant, they’re escorted out of school,” said French.
French walked Hart Auditorium’s stage not out of resentment for what happened to her, but proud of what she had accomplished at 56-years-old.
“I did it to better myself,” said French.
Golden Oak Adult School announced for their graduates to move their tassels from the right to the left on Friday, signifying that their 2023 class completed all their course work for their diplomas.
Golden Oak’s graduation marked the 75th year of its operations.
“Golden Oak Adult School would not be around for 75 years if it wasn’t for their hard work and dedication for each member bringing to their roles every single day,” said principal Bryan Wilson.
The school’s 2023 graduating class was composed of 30 students who completed their diploma program, with 12 of them completing HiSet (High School Equivalency Test) courses.
“It is an honor to present to you some of the most inspiring people I know in my life, our adult graduates,” said program specialist Hilary Schardein.
Each graduate walked the stage in their brown robes. Stepping out of their individual roles as a mother, father, brother, sister, cousin, grandparent, etc., they walked together as 2023 graduates.
They received not only their diplomas, but also a “swag bag.” Inside was a pin for the graduates to present to, as Wilson instructed, the person who was there for them the most on their journey.
Wilson provided the graduates with a moment during the ceremony to show their appreciation for them as well.
“I know that your family and friends are here tonight, they have helped you support you in this endeavor,” said Wilson. “Graduates, please stand, turn to your guests and let’s give them a thankful round of applause for their support for you.”
Graduates exited their ceremony with a diploma in hand and “Life is a Highway,” by Rascal Flatts playing them off.
“Congratulations to you all,” said Wilson.