Hello, my name is Mackey Phillips and I am 48 years old.
I wish I could stand here and tell you I didn’t graduate from high school back in 1987 like I was supposed to because school was just boring or I had better things to do...that was not the case for me. You see, I was about 5 years old when I was diagnosed to be extremely hyperactive….Today, it’s called ADHD.
Having ADHD caused me a lot of problems. As a matter of fact, I was held back in Kindergarten because I just didn’t play well with other kids. And I could not sit still in class. That’s what Kindergarten TWICE through sixth grade was like for me. I got in a lot of fights, and I got suspended a lot. I did not do good in school, but the teachers pushed me through anyway. In the 7th grade, I started smoking pot and cigarettes and got kicked out of Walters Jr High and had to go to Mr. Dillon Continuation. In the 8th grade, I went back to Walters Jr High just to be kicked out in the first two weeks. In the 9th grade, I attended Kennedy High in Fremont. I went to high school just to cut class, smoke pot, and get in trouble. So at the end of the 9th grade, I was asked not to come back so I dropped out...and that led me to a lifetime of addiction, breaking the law, not being able to hold a job, and getting in and out of state prisons.
In 2015, I was sentenced to do 6 years in the Santa Clara County Jail. That’s when I truly understood that if I didn’t do whatever it took to change my life, I would spend the rest of my life alone and probably die in some prison. And so I started taking steps toward bettering my life. One of the changes I knew I had to make was I had to get a high school education...that’s when Ms. Denise came into my life and even though I struggled in her class, she REFUSED to give up on me.
Learning was no easy task for me! I hadn’t been in school since 1985 and all the math was new and foreign to me. But Ms. Denise continued to stick with me and kept encouraging me. She also had me attending an extra math class taught by Mr. Joe. Between the both of them, they helped me achieve something I never thought I would ever do---getting my HSE.
I’m finding that having an HSE is only the beginning...now I can become whatever I put my heart and mind to. I’ve always wanted to become a certified welder...with a high school education, I can now pursue that goal by entering a welding apprenticeship program where I can Earn While I Learn this coming July.
My testimony would be incomplete without talking about my faith. You see, the change I needed to make had to start on the inside and it started with God. I finally came to know and understand the truth of God’s unfailing love for me. He loved me enough to place the right people in my path to help me through the changes I needed to make. I give glory to God for all He continues to do in my life.
Thank you Ms. Denise for all your patience, thank you Mr. Joe for all your help, thank you Sandra for standing by me for 30 years, and thank you Mom and Dad.
Good afternoon family, friends, faculty and fellow graduates,
We finally made the first step to our journey. The next step to the rest of our lives, one that should be recognized for the immense significance. It is an act not only of personal commitment, but also one of pride. We all worked hard to get to this point in life. Many of us making sacrifices just to get to this day. I even worked myself hard this past weekend because I was determined to graduate. RedBull was my best friend this weekend LOL. But getting this diploma doesn’t mean I’m finished with my goals. It’s merely a start of my life. One goal that I’ve
set myself 3 years ago. There were times when I tried and tried to come back and when I did for 3 years I couldn’t do it. I didn’t push myself as hard as I did now. This finally pushed and I have an amazing teacher who helped me with this goal. This past school year, I have been through too much. I thought to myself from time to time I wouldn’t make it. I was scared but now I finally overcame my fear and did it.
But now we don’t stop here! This graduation is not the end. To wherever your future takes you, make it the best time you could. Life is a journey and all accomplishments we achieve during its course should be taken as the starting point to a better future. Each and one of us have many goals that we can achieve. But commitment is the best excellence ever. Now this road that lies ahead of us will not be easy to take. There will be many obstacles and missed exits and even road blocks. There will be times when each of us will feel like we cannot go on. But with all these things happening, we should learn from. We can overcome any obstacle that comes our ways. We are never alone in this journey we take. Someone is always there watching us and helping us. Nothing is ever easy to achieve. We have to work hard for what we want.
From this day forward, let us make our own decision with our own best interest in mind. Let us believe in ourselves so that we may reach our goals and fulfill our dreams. Let us be the best that we can in our lives and live that happiest we can with pride and joy. We’ve already taken the first step in this ceremony today. And now it is time to take the first step to our journey to build our future.
Congratulations to the Class of 2017!
Good evening. Thank you for attending the Milpitas Adult Education graduation ceremony.
My name is Dennise Ponce, and first and foremost, I would like to start by saying thank you to my family and to all the families of this graduating class for your support and encouragement. That's what kept us going and helped us to complete our goal of getting our G.E.D. or HiSET diplomas.
Now to the students, I congratulate you all for completing your goal, and I am honored to know and have accomplished this goal with you. I started my journey at Milpitas Adult Education in 2015. Like you all, the thought of going back to school was on my mind and I knew I needed to do it, but a part of me was scared. I thought I was too old to go back to school. I didn't want anyone to judge me, but I was wrong. As soon as I walked into Milpitas Adult Ed, all I felt and saw were people there to help me without judgement.
My first teacher, Ms. Mendoza, helped to provide a positive learning space. She got to know me and helped grow my confidence with the stories she told about her experiences in school. Thank you, Ms. Mendoza. You helped me more than you could ever know.
My second teacher, Mrs. Laura, I was kind of skeptical about. I didn't think she would be able to help me with much, but I was wrong again. Mrs. Laura helped me to understand math, a subject I and many others in class struggled with. She and the classroom tutors, Quan and Habib, took the time to explain math in a way that we could understand. Thank you, Mrs. Laura, for all of the hours you spent helping me prepare for the tests. Being in your class was a pleasure.
I also want to thank Mrs. Patti for helping me transition from Adult Education into college and for making it easy without it being overwhelming. Since January, I've been enrolled at Mission College and now I’m proud to say that I’m done with my first semester of college! I want to thank all the staff and volunteers for helping us achieve our dreams. Thank you.