Success! Adult High School Graduate Earns Certificate

In July, Cleveland Community College’s Learning Center celebrated the graduation of 31 students who earned their high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate.

Among the graduates was Sareena Durbin, a young mother of two who was determined to complete her high school equivalency because she says, “I need a better job for my children.”

Durbin entered the Learning Center’s program in June. She started in
the Adult Basic Education Program because she tested at lower than a ninth grade level in reading and language arts. That’s not uncommon. More than 80 percent of students enrolled in The Learning Center programs place at this level.

Sareena Durbin poses in her cap and gown.

Sareena Durbin prepares to walk across the stage and receive her high school equivalency certificate during CCC’s Adult High School graduation ceremony in July.

“This young lady, a mother of two very young children, came to class regularly, put in additional hours, and placed out of my class,” said Kim McDaniel, Durbin’s Adult Basic Education instructor. “On days I was not teaching her, she attended the Learning Lab and was able to successfully complete all four GED tests.”

The Learning Lab is a classroom that offers self-paced learning exercises and is available to students who are enrolled in Adult High School or are preparing for a high school equivalency exam.

Durbin improved her reading and language skills and was able to earn her GED in about two months. It takes most people longer than that but she says, “I wanted it, and she (McDaniel) helped me every step of the way. Having someone believe I could do it made a huge difference.”

Now, with GED in hand, Durbin is enrolling at CCC for the fall semester with plans to study phlebotomy. That’s only the beginning. Durbin says her ultimate goal is to “be a nurse or higher” and with her positive attitude and determination she can make that happen.

Her advice to others who have not earned their high school diploma or equivalency?

If you want it, go get it. Don’t get discouraged. If you put in the work, it’s possible.”

The Learning Center instructors are waiting to help anyone interested in earning their high school diploma or high school equivalency.  All classes, books and instructional software are free. There is a charge for each equivalency exam, but financial help is available for those who qualify.

If you want it, go get it. Contact the Learning Center today at 704-669-4050 or

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