35 Students Honored at IVCC Adult Education Recognition Event – ​​Shaw Local


Thirty-five students were honored for their achievements on May 22 during Illinois Valley Community College’s 43rd Annual Adult Education Recognition Event.

In her first adult education award, IVCC President Tracy Morris recognized the dedication and courage of the participants and acknowledged the effort it takes to go to an unknown place to take the necessary steps toward change.

“Today we celebrate all of your sacrifices, hard work and courage. You are going out to make a difference in the world and all of us here at IVCC are so proud of the dedication, commitment and work you have put in to achieve your dreams. We thank you for choosing IVCC as part of your journey,” Morris said.

Mark graduates Ahlora Sbarbaro and Maren Barreras described their path to this moment of triumph.

After the deaths of her father and sister when she was a teenager, Sbarbaro said she “allowed grief to consume me. As I tried to deal with my grief, I allowed it to tear away everything I had ever worked for and dreamed of. I ended up dropping out the last semester of my senior year of high school.”

Sbarbaro was determined to pass the General Educational Development test to show her young daughter that she “can accomplish anything she sets her mind to.” She also thanked her mother for her undying love and support and her GED teacher, Kathy Drapa, for believing in her.

Barreras was recognized for completing the Bridge to Careers course and the Integrated Career and Academic Preparation System program and for earning her high school diploma.

“Without all the exceptional instructors and staff, I would never have been as motivated as I am today. When I started at IVCC, I never imagined my dreams could become a reality so quickly. After completing my adult education and CNA certification, my dreams were never closer,” said Barreras.

At the end of the program, Morris held a moment of silence in memory of a classmate of the group, Anna Michelle Martin, 19, of Streator, who died in the fall. Morris also praised the adult education teachers and staff for their support and encouragement of her classmates after Martin's death.

The names of the 23 graduates from Illinois high schools were read by Ryan Myers, assistant superintendent of the La Salle, Marshall, Putnam County Regional Office of Education. Civics teacher Sandra Woest read the names of the two naturalized citizens, the 11 graduates of the Bridge to Careers program and the three graduates of the ICAPS program.

Graduates and leavers are:

GED – Maren Vasquez-Barreras, Alyssa Bugiyne, Andrew Butler, Benjamin Cannone, Jasmine Davis, Deidra Dennis, Mckenzi Donaway, Gabriella Godinez, Sylvia Godinez, Olivia Harlan, Dennis Hogan, Jacob Hurt, Caile Mathas, Elaine McCubbin, Jay Mendez, Autumn Miller, Evelyn Orozco, Austin Orr, Isaiah Pelc, Laura Rix, Tammy Sarabia, Ahlora Barbaro and Tracy Welling

ICAPS graduates – Maren Vazquez-Barreras, Alyssa Bugiyne and Laura Rix

Bridge pavers – Maren Vasquez-Barreras, Rocio Cabello, Benjamin Cordova, Yeimy Forero, Patricia Guzman, Lin Lin, Yessenia Melesio, Carmela Aguilera, Mili Patel, Milena Ribeiro and Tracy Welling

Citizenship Award Winners – Cecilia Fuentes and Monica Ramirez

For information about adult education programs, contact Director Sara Escatel at 815-224-0355 or visit