Jerry Williams recently became the first male in his immediate family to receive a diploma. He is pictured at the recent ceremony held at Haywood Community College.


When Jerry Williams was preparing to graduate from high school more than 15 years ago, he was told he lacked a few credits and would have to repeat his senior year. What many of his classmates didn’t know about Williams was that he had a son.

“I had a lot of great people that I looked up to tell me that I was a failure. I was devastated, so I quit,” Williams explains. “I decided that it would be better if I got a job and took care of my son and his mother than to spend another year in high school.”

Many years later, Williams’ wife asked him why he didn’t return to school to get his diploma. That led him to the Adult High School program at Haywood Community College. At the College’s recent Career and College Readiness graduation ceremony, he told his story to those in attendance.

According to Williams, “They say going back to school is like riding a bike. Boy, were they wrong. With the help of the teachers at HCC, they didn’t give me training wheels. They just stood beside me and said ‘let’s do it together.’”

Williams says he really enjoyed the smaller classes and that the instructors cared and showed compassion to him. He became the first male in his immediate family to receive a diploma.

“This diploma is just one of the many keys to the success that waits ahead to our future,” Williams says. “Thank you to HCC and the Adult High School teachers for giving us the opportunity to achieve our goal and believing in us all.”

Over 40 students were honored at the joint High School Equivalency Diploma (formerly known as GED®), Adult High School and Career College graduation ceremony.

“College & Career Readiness programs offer students a flexible way to complete their high school credential and prepare for other college programs or the workplace,” says Patricia Smith, dean of the department.

Day, evening, and online classes are available through the College and Career Readiness department. Anyone interested in obtaining a High School Equivalency Diploma may choose from two convenient options: the traditional classroom setting or online classes. The department also offers an Adult High School program for students who are age 16 and older. The Adult High School classes are taught on the main campus, Monday through Friday. Students may also choose to complete the diploma online.

For additional information about obtaining a High School Equivalency Diploma or HCC’s Adult High School or Career College Program, please call 828-627-4648.