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HSE Graduate Achieves Dream

Graduate displays decorated cap at HSE graduation ceremony.
Rebecca A. Eckland

Every year, TMCC’s Adult Basic Education (ABE) and High School Equivalency (HSE) Programs celebrate graduates who have overcome considerable adversity to make the important first step of their educational journeys.  Amber Moore was among the 51 graduates from the classes of 2020 and 2021 that were honored at a drive-through ceremony held at TMCC’s Meadowood Center on the evening of Friday, June 25. 

Student Amber Moore standing next to TMCC mascot Wizard the Lizard.

Amber Moore stuck to her goal of passing her High School Equivalency exam in 2020. She walked at the commencement ceremony on June 25.

Moore, who completed her high school equivalency in 2020, has been able to move forward with her life thanks to her decision to stick to her goal regardless of the challenges she faced. “I love my job,” she said. “I take care of the disabled, and I wouldn’t have this job without my high school equivalency."

Her journey to TMCC’s HSE program was unexpected. In October 2018, Moore’s friend called her and told her that she had signed them both up for the program. They attended the first class together. “It was kind of hard and I had anxiety about doing this,” Moore remembered. “But, I stuck it out and my best friend didn’t.” 

Although the anxiety would subside, Moore would face challenges along the way, most notably math. She took her first HSE exam seven months after beginning the HSE Program. She passed every section of the test but the one that tested her knowledge of math. “I was so afraid to retake the test and of failing again,” she said. 

Yet, an instructor approached her one night when the class met in the computer lab. “She walked over to me and said that she wanted me to stop studying and to login into my email,” Moore said. “I followed her instructions and I ended up sending an email saying that I wanted to schedule a time for me to take the math test again.” 

The test was scheduled for November 7, and despite the preparation and studying that Moore had already done, the fear that she wouldn’t pass the exam was considerable. “I was scared,” she admitted. “I needed an 11 to pass. The first time I had gotten a six.” At each question, Moore would remember the gap between how she had performed on the test the first time and what she needed to do to achieve her ultimate goal of passing the HSE exam. 

Yet, when eleven was in fact the score she received the second time around, she couldn’t contain her joy. “I actually screamed,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it, I passed!” 

Moore credits the instructors in the program with her success. “The instructors were all so compassionate and cared about your feelings. They interacted with each student and were truly there to help us,” she said. 

These sentiments were echoed by ABE Salutatorian AnnaLisa Ruscitti for the graduating class of 2021.  “I’m so thankful to the ABE program and the staff who worked with me to realize that I could still continue my academics,” she said. “I’d been out of school for a long time and I didn’t consider college as something I could feasibly do. The teachers I met in the program were wonderful; they were fun and kind to talk to, and they taught me in a way where everything clicked together.” 

To others wanting to pursue their education and their dreams, Moore offers words of encouragement that helped her to obtain her high school equivalency and a career of service helping those in need: “Don’t give up and keep chugging. You’ll get there,” she said.

For more information on TMCC’s Adult Basic Education and High School Equivalency Programs, contact the department at 775-829-9044.