Later today, or sometime soon—better yet, choose a moment when you feel particularly keenly the weight of perceived disregard for the importance of our efforts—and raise a glass to Vicki Miller. Most of you don’t know Vicki, but hopefully you’re familiar with one or more of the thousands of “Vicki Millers” in communities across the nation who, against odds presented by personal adversity that would cripple most individuals and cause them to shrink from the thought of ever accomplishing much of anything noteworthy, became the first External Diploma Program Graduate (Adult High School Diploma Program with the Career Development Academy, HCPS, RCPS). A self-effacing but proud and determined adult learner, Vicki’s path to attaining her high school diploma was uphill all the way, and the fact that she trudged the distance and successfully completed the journey is little short of a miracle. If you or your professional colleagues ever question the value of our chosen profession, or whether an education is worth much in peoples’ minds, just ask Vicki, or one of the individuals privileged enough to have witnessed the memorable moment when, in an unpretentious but moving ceremony earlier today, proof of how singularly proud attainment of a formal education can make one feel was delivered in the form of a scrolled piece of paper. To all the other striving students in the External Diploma Program, and to the countless other youth still searching for direction, Vicki has demonstrated that daunting obstacles can be surmounted, and that something previously thought impossible is achievable. For proof, they need only glance at the name on the diploma which certifies that, after a journey of another kind, and with a little support from a few believers, Vicki Lynn Miller has become the newest honored alum of Harrisonburg City Public Schools.
Reason aplenty for us all to celebrate.Phil Wishon
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