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GED services marked by emotions, excitement

Few ceremonies at Ozarks Technical Community College are filled with as much excitement and emotion as the College’s GED graduation services.

On Sunday, more than 300 people will ride that emotional wave across the Gillioz Theater stage and receive their GED in front of enthusiastic family members and friends.

Two services are scheduled for 1 and 3 p.m.

“It can be very emotional for the students,” said Ramona George, director of the GED and adult education programs at OTC. “Those are real emotions, real stuff going on among the families in the audience. The students are walking across that stage not only for themselves but for their entire family.”

George said the program gives people a second change in life. Of the 2,900 who studied for their GED last year, 1,500 reported that they were unemployed.

“That number has been going up over the years because people are finding it difficult to be competitive in the workforce without a diploma. Many have exhausted the job market looking for work, and they have to go back and learn new skills to keep their job or earn a promotion,” she said.

Tim Mayes of Aurora will receive his GED Sunday. Facing a bleak future after he was laid off from his welding job with the Paul Mueller Co. last year, Mayes now dreams of supporting his wife and 2-year-old daughter by becoming a law-enforcement officer. He has applied to the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do after being laid off,” he said. “I had been welding all my life. I didn’t need to use writing and reading.”

Mayes, one of 2,900 student who studied for their GED at OTC facilities through the region this year, was referred to OTC through the Missouri Career Center. He worked for five months on getting his diploma.

“This is one of the best things I ever accomplished. I never thought it would happen. People said I wouldn’t accomplish anything. My family was a big part of my success,” he said.

OTC President Dr. Hal Higdon said he especially enjoys the celebratory fervor at the ceremonies.

 “There is a special atmosphere that surrounds the GED services. Families celebrate the accomplishments of their loved ones, knowing they have reached a significant goal in their lives. Their joy is reflected in the enthusiasm shown at the ceremonies,” Hidgon said.

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



College Director of Communications

Phone: 417.447.2655


Steve Koehler

Coordinator of Publications

Phone: (417) 447-2666


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