July 6, 2017

Great-grandmother among 45 at High School Equivalency ceremony at Hinds CC

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BY: Danny Barrett Jr.
Ruby Hardy holding GED graduation certificate

Ruby Hardy

RAYMOND – Ruby Hardy came home to Jackson last year the way countless people make their way back home – to take care of family.

“I came back to take care my mother,” Hardy said. “It prompted me to go into the job center, but I didn’t qualify much since I didn’t have a GED. I was even thinking of working in foodservice because I have to take care of a family.”

Hardy, 70, was among 45 people of varying ages and stations in life recognized during a ceremony Friday, June 30 at Cain-Cochran Hall on the Raymond Campus for achieving their High School Equivalency certificate, formerly known as the GED, this academic term.

The great-grandmother of five had left Lanier High School before her senior year was up and went to California, where she took part in a jobs program established by the federal government during the Kennedy administration, then worked several years for Pacific Bell in various roles.

“Back then, if you passed an entry-level test, you could just get a job and after about five years, you could move around,” she said. “Nowadays, the first thing they’ll ask you for is a GED or a high school diploma.”


She plans to become a certified medical data technologist and open her own business.

“To reach this milestone, it’s an awesome feeling,” she said. “I never thought I’d be at a loss for words, so that’s the only thing I can say. It’s just awesome.”

Hardy was among eight participants in the MI BEST program at Hinds who received a GED during the ceremony. MI BEST is Mississippi’s version of the nationally recognized Integrating Basic Education and Skills Training program, or I-BEST. It allows adult students to train for a job skill while earning their GED high school equivalency certificate at the same time. Students are prepared to be job-ready in six months to a year, train in high-demand areas and earn national certifications.

Tommy Dotson, left, of Vicksburg, shakes hands with Dickie Scruggs following a ceremony June 30, 2017 in Cain-Cochran Hall at Hinds Community College Raymond Campus to recognize those who earned a High School Equivalency certificate this past academic term. (Hinds Community College/Tammi Bowles)

Dickie Scruggs, former prominent lawyer and founder of the nonprofit Second Chance Mississippi, spoke to this year’s recipients on the value of their accomplishment down the road in life. The collaborative effort with the state’s community colleges raises awareness and funds for High School Equivalency and adult education.

“My charge to you today is simple,” Scruggs said. “If you will do one thing the rest of your life, you will succeed. Just three words – just show up. If you just show up, anything you undertake to do, chance are you will succeed.”

GED recipients who were honored Thursday and their stated hometowns included:

Brianna Allen, Vicksburg
LeDarius Anderson, Byram
Stephanie Bell, Vicksburg
Kadeem Bilal, Clinton
Michael Boyles, Clinton
Amy Bray, Raymond
Brittany Caldwell, Vicksburg
Willie Chapin, Utica
Jason Chapman, Jackson
Lateisha Chatman, Jackson
Tyler  Davenport, Jackson
Tommy Dotson, Vicksburg
Brandi Eucare, Jackson
Connor Evans, Vicksburg
William Everett Jr., Jackson
Bobby Hannah, Jackson
Ruby Hardy, Jackson
Malik Harvey, Byram
Mandy Hart, Raymond
Cherie Hayes, Jackson
Alease Hobson, Jackson
Courtney Holmes, Jackson
Melissa Irby, Jackson
Isreal Jenkins, Clinton
Darien Johnson, Jackson
Kyra King, Vicksburg
Javen Love, Brandon
Rachel Majoria, Vicksburg
Antoniesha McCoy, Jackson
Timothy Myles, Clinton
Khaaliq Nunn, Jackson
Jenny Pettis, Raymond
Chester Price, Jackson
KaDarius Price, Jackson
Valanta Pruitt, Vicksburg
Jarrett Riles, Byram
Octivitia Smith, Jackson
Chyrianne D Sterling, Jackson
Olivia Tarver, Vicksburg
Frank Jr Tullos, Edwards
Rosemary Washington, Clinton
Alexandria Watkins, Raymond
Candace Watson, Byram
Robert Watson, Vicksburg
Tanya White, Jackson