Adult Graduates Celebrated March 2

Record Number: 19317
Displayed from: Feb 24, 2022 , until: Apr 24, 2022

The Fort Wayne Community Schools Adult and Continuing Education Department will celebrate the success of 352 graduates at its Commencement Ceremony at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, at North Side High School.

This year, the ceremony will honor those who completed High School Credit (HSC) requirements or passed the High School Equivalency (HSE) exam between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2021. Because of COVID-19 restrictions last year, the celebration for the 180 graduates from 2020 was postponed. The 2021 class includes 172 graduates.

During Wednesday’s celebration, the stories of five graduating students will be shared. The Continuing Education Program serves adult students of all ages, many of whom have endured educational and personal struggles on their road to graduation. Highlighted students this year are:

Neco Beasley encountered challenging life circumstances following her parents’ divorce and an unexpected pregnancy that kept her from finishing high school. She pursued a professional career in the beauty industry and because she is sharp and business-minded, she has grown a successful business, House of Neco Salon and Boutique. Her desire to support and care for others led to her pursuit of her High School Equivalency Diploma. As CEO of Star Network, a nonprofit that supports and encourages women who have been through divorce, devastation and depression, Neco is determined to make a difference in our community. Neco’s vibrant and hopeful perspective inspires others to pursue their dreams.

Cristina Pinho Goode was born and raised in Brazil.  An early pregnancy and young marriage caused her to drop out of high school when she was 17.  Four decades later, she returned to school to complete her education – this time with her granddaughter by her side. They attended classes together and celebrated their accomplishments together. Unbeknownst to others, Cristina is a mom to seven children, a grandmother to 12, a former youth chaplain and an accomplished balloon artist. Her talent, positive attitude and giving spirit inspire those around her.

Blake Wunderlich left high school after feeling that homeschooling had not prepared him for the accelerated academic pace of a traditional high school, although he enjoyed sports and musical theater. He used the loss of his father and death of his youngest sibling to serve as motivation to earn his diploma. After overcoming the nerves of registering for HSE classes, he found himself excited for his future, studying many hours in the evening after class. Blake earned an honors diploma, which brought unexpected tears and emotions as he recognized his future is bright with possibilities.

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.