Hinds Community College alumnus and local attorney Jonathan Bullock of Madison outlined a recipe for success to about 100 2012-2013 GED recipients at the annual recognition ceremony on June 6 on the Raymond Campus.
“I speak on education because of the unique story I have because of the desire to try to inspire and motivate,” he said. “There are not many lawyers with a GED.”
Bullock was a high school dropout who received a General Education Development high school equivalency certificate before enrolling at Hinds in the early 1990s and eventually graduating from law school at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma.
Clashes with his parents and sporadic school attendance at Clinton High School put him on a path to making $4.25 at the Farmer’s Market in Jackson. He figured out pretty fast that wasn’t a living wage.
Even after he went to Hinds and Mississippi State University and was a second-year law student, an unintended pregnancy could have derailed his path a second time but he got a day job and finished law school at night.
“There are many obstacles that have been presented to me that I’ve had to deal with. We all do. It’s easy to get knocked off the path. You just have to get back up and keep going by putting one foot in front of the other,” he said.
About half the GED achievers participating in the ceremony stood up when they were asked if they have already enrolled at Hinds. Bullock urged all of them to enroll.
“Don’t stop there. Continue onto the next level. Use this as an opportunity to propel yourself to the next stage in your life. You can only get there by a proper plan. Planning it out, mapping it out. Semester by semester. Enroll,” he said.
Hinds offers the first class free to GED recipients and scholarships to those with high scores.
“There has never been a time in the history of the world that education is as important as it is today,” Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse told the GED achievers. “Without your high school diploma or your equivalency, GED, it’s almost virtually impossible to find a job in today’s society. More than 65 percent of the jobs today require at least a high school education and some training beyond high school. Your community college is so important today for providing the kind of skills that you need to secure a good job and be successful in it.”
All 2012-2013 GED achievers in Hinds Community College’s district of Hinds, Rankin, Warren, Copiah and Claiborne counties are invited each year to participate in the ceremony
Each year Hinds Community College serves nearly 2,000 high school dropouts in its Adult Basic Education instructional and GED testing programs. The majority of these students are preparing to take the GED tests. Hinds, with the assistance of a Dollar General Literacy Foundation, waives the GED testing fee for students enrolled in the Hinds ABE program.
Those who pass the test are awarded a certificate equivalent to a high school diploma that allows them to continue their education at Hinds Community College and other higher education institutions.