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GED recipients proud of their accomplishments

By Steve Koehler

Talisia Ensch knows she’s going to cry when she receives her GED Sunday at the Gillioz Theater.

Ensch of Branson and a recovering addict will have accomplished something Sunday she didn’t think was possible a few years ago — get her diploma.

“It’s one more thing I’ve overcome and it’s important in my life. Yes, I’m going to cry,” she said.

Ensch, 25, who left school at the 11th grade, is one of more than 300 students who will be honored by Ozarks Technical Community College at Sunday’s ceremonies. One program begins at 1 p.m. and the second starts at 3:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

A video report of last year’s ceremony is on the News-Leader website.

More than 3,000 students participate in OTC’s Adult Education and Learning programs each year throughout the Ozarks, with some of them working for this GED. When students complete their GED work, they receive their first three credit hours of college coursework free from OTC.

“A lot of the students in the program are displaced workers from across southwest Missouri,” said Ramona George, director of OTC’s Adult Education and Learning.

Michelle Gray of Springfield is one such person who will receive her diploma.

Gray said her layoff from Willowbrook in the fall was “a blessing in disguise” and gave her a chance to improve her life.

“It was hard work and I’m proud of me. I was scared at first returning to school. It was the first time since 1986,” said the married mother of four.

Robin Willis of Seymour, who dropped out of high school more than 20 years ago, drove almost 75 miles round trip nearly every day in order to complete her GED work and also took college courses at OTC while studying for her diploma.

“I’m just going to see where it takes me,” Willis said.

 Steve Koehler is coordinator of publications at Ozarks Technical Community College.


College Director of Communications

Phone: 417.447.2655


Steve Koehler

Coordinator of Publications

Phone: (417) 447-2666


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