More than 219 graduates were welcomed by Dr. Leslie Gargiulo, Ashworth College Vice President of Education. Each graduate was individually recognized as they crossed the stage to receive their diplomas from John Riser, Ashworth’s Director of Operations.
“You have come a long way, graduates… in more ways than just your travels to get here today,” said Dr. Gargiulo in her opening speech. “Distance Education is not easy. It requires great drive and discipline and it’s clear each of you possess these characteristics.”
“Today is a celebration of your success and all of us at Ashworth hope that in some small way we have been able to bring learning experience and achievement in your life,” she continued. “Be proud of your diploma and degree from Ashworth as it signifies a major, recognized and accredited accomplishment.”
Among this year’s graduates, 63 students received college degrees, 72 received career diplomas and 84 received high school diplomas. Those taking part in the ceremony travelled from 30 states and six foreign countries. Among the graduates was a first-generation high school graduate, two sisters who are Department of Defense contractors at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, a female truck driver who went back to school in order to change careers and a husband and wife who were both receiving diplomas that day.
During the ceremony Taylor, a 2004 graduate, was presented with Ashworth’s Alumnus of the Year Award. “I believe that everyone can achieve greatness,” she said, addressing the graduates. “If you can stand at one end of the road and can honestly see yourself attaining your goal at the other end, you can accomplish everything you set out to do. I am fortunate that Ashworth has been part of my journey.”
Not only does attending a live graduation ceremony honor a long-standing tradition shared by students worldwide, for Ashworth grads it has special significance. The average Ashworth student completes their education online, from home, without stepping foot in a classroom and rarely meets an instructor face-to-face. 2011 graduates had the opportunity to meet the nearly 50 instructors and staff members present at this year’s ceremony.
“This ceremony is proof that you have achieved a great milestone in your life, but now you must continue the journey and never stop learning,” said Riser, addressing the assembly. “Your family depends on you, your community and country needs your leadership. So when the day is over, and you put away your cap and gown and you go back home, remember, you [still] have work to do.”
Professional chef, author, and Internet program host delivers keynote address
Taylor’s formal culinary training began as a military spouse. It was her former husband’s deployment to Italy that inspired her to study both locally and as a student in Ashworth’s Gourmet Cooking and Catering Program.
In addition to her Ashworth education, she is also a graduate of Texas Culinary Academy’s Le Cordon Bleu and attended Sheffield School of Interior Design (an Ashworth sister school). Taylor is also member of the United States Personal Chef Association and the American Culinary Federation. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her daughter and training professionally in Krav Maga, a form of combative martial arts.
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About Ashworth College
As an online school leader, Ashworth College has built a tradition of excellence spanning 25 years, offering students worldwide more than 115 online college degrees, online certificate programs and online high school diploma options that are affordable and fit the busy schedules of working adults. Ashworth offers military education as well as specialized programs for corporate partners and homeschoolers.
Headquartered in Norcross, GA, Ashworth is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). The Accrediting Commission of the DETC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency. James Madison High School is further accredited regionally by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). SACS CASI is an accreditation division of AdvancED. For more information, visit http://www.ashworthcollege.edu.