It was a bittersweet moment for The Literacy Council of Mercer County when its final graduating class was honored Jan. 9 at a ceremony at Penn State-Shenango auditorium in Sharon. It was sweet because a record number of learners – 36 – earned their General Education Diploma (GED) in The Literacy Council’s last six months of operation, July 1 through Dec. 31, 2013. The Council ended all services at the end of 2013 after serving more than 5,000 Mercer County residents since its opening in 1987, because grant funding was not renewed.
Nancy Castor, Literacy Council executive director, welcomed the graduates and their guests. Daniel Durst, chairperson of the Board of Directors, was master of ceremonies. Two students addressed their classmates and guests. Philip R. Hosch Jr. spoke about “The Power of God”, while Jennifer Harvey related how “Persistence Pays Off.”
More than a hundred guests witnessed the presentation of Certificates of Achievement to the final class by their instructors, Pamela Bailey and Cynthia Glass. Former instructor Melissa Bestwick and her husband, Benton Bestwick, helped coordinate the program and provide photography.
Graduates include: Ravana Adkins, Casey Anderson, Anthony Aregnziano, Amber Bono, Dennis Coombs, Pennie Davis, John Dierfield, Stevie DiFrischia, Cody Dimoff, Paige Fell, Zachary Garasich, Jennifer Harvey, Eddie Hicks, Phillip Hosch Jr., John Johnson, Diane Koosch, Adrienne Laskey, Ashlee Mazzo, Katherihe McFarland, Robert McKay, Tara Porterfield, Dean Proper, Jennifer Rader, Gina Renner, Raelin Rieger, Cynthia Ritts, Brooks Robinson, Faith Shorts, Nick Small, Ashlee Smith, Cheryl Swartz, Jennifer Szaniszlo, Harleea Taylor, Dorothy Tomlin, Miranda Trepasso and Samantha Zawacki.