The students completed the General Educational Development program to earn the coveted certificate, clearing the way to attend college and land a better-paying job.
About 40 of them donned maroon gowns and caps with gold tassles for graduation ceremonies on June 6 at Temple Baptist Church in Hattiesburg.
"I challenge each of you to step out in faith and reach for that golden ring," said graduation speaker Sarah English of Brooklyn.
A year ago, English received her GED certificate through the same program. After her first year as a PRCC student, she carries a 3.9 grade point average and was named outstanding student in criminal justice at the Forrest County Center.
She told the graduates and their families that she dropped out of high school twice and in the span of three years married and had two children.
"One day I took a long look at my life and knew I wanted better for myself and my precious girls," English said. "I am doing this not just for me but for them."
The PRCC adult education program is open to anyone 17 years old and older and is free. The only cost is $40 for the GED test, and assistance is available for those who can’t pay the fee. Classes meet at varying times at locations throughout PRCC’s six county district.
New students take the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) and work from study guides based on their scores. Instructors provide tutoring as needed.
When they are ready, students take a post-test on the TABE and then take an official practice test. A score of 450 on the practice test is required to take the actual GED exam. The five-part test includes sections on reading, English, math, social studies and science.
More than 400 GED graduates were enrolled in college courses in 2008-09.
PRCC President William Lewis encouraged the graduates to thank their families for supporting them as they work to better themselves.
"If you want success in life, you have the opportunity today to start that life and set goals for yourself," he said. "Consider this milestone today as a stepping stone. You’ve really achieved a lot and have so much to be proud of."
For information on the GED program, telephone 601 554-5551 or 601 403-1310 or go to www.prcc.edu.