Adults join teens on cap and gown circuit

MIDDLEBURY — Linda King was in 10th grade when she decided she’d had enough of school. It was during the early 1970s, and her parents were going through a divorce — too much domestic tension, confusion and distraction to feel comfortable in a classroom.
“I thought I knew everything,” King, a Cornwall resident, said last week. “I didn’t really like school.”
Well, her views on education changed through the years — to the point where she decided to do something about it. King, 54, along with 46 other Addison County residents, will take a belated stroll on the academic stage on Thursday, June 11, to pick up their General Educational Development certificates (commonly known as GEDs) or adult diplomas as part of the Vermont Adult Learning commencement ceremony.
“It’s very exciting,” Vermont Adult Learning Regional Manager Ann Crocker said of the ceremony, which will be held at Middlebury College’s Kirk Alumni Center, from 6 to 8 p.m. “It will be standing room only, I’m sure.”
King is looking forward to the big day and the receipt of her GED, an accomplishment she realizes will enhance her employment situation.
It’s a realization that became particularly stark last year, when Nexus Custom Electronics in Brandon closed its doors. King had worked there as an assembler for 33 years. All of a sudden, she found herself looking for a new job.
“I knew I needed an education to get another job,” King said, noting that most companies advertising for workers specified “high school diploma, or equivalent” as a minimum requirement.
Fortunately, King was only out of work for six weeks when she found a new job at Goodrich Corp. in Vergennes. But she was hired with the stipulation that she secure her GED. That requirement was the extra impetus King needed to finish the schooling she had left behind as a teenager.
King began her studies at VAL last September and has earned her GED, which she will proudly accept on June 11, surrounded by family and friends.
“It’s exciting,” King said. “It means a lot to me to be able to accomplish it. It will be a big day; we will have a party at the house.”
Also celebrating will be Josh Deppman, 26, who will receive his high school diploma at the VAL ceremony.
Deppman left Middlebury Union High School early in 2001.
“My original intent was to take over a family farm, I thought I didn’t need a high school diploma, I knew what I was going to be doing,” Deppman said of his reason for leaving school.
But Deppman’s original plan fizzled amid fluctuating milk prices. Suddenly, he found himself looking for work without a diploma.
“I started working for other farmers and joined the Weybridge Fire Department,” Deppman said
He resolved to stay in agriculture, and currently works as an assistant herd manager at the Providence Dairy in Addison.
Deppman is happy with his job but knew that to advance in the ag industry, he needed to get his high school diploma.
“It was a hole in my life; I didn’t have that piece of paper… saying I had graduated,” Deppman said. “I decided to go back and finish up.”
He spent around three years completing his diploma requirements.
It’s hard work that he is pleased to see pay off.
“It’s exciting; it makes me feel like I have closed another chapter in my life,” Deppman said. “I can move forward, and I’m confident.”

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