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When Jeannette Brown and Jackie Bryan set out to teach 14 men the skills they needed
to get their Adult Basic Education certificates, they had a captive audience. Their students
were inmates at Newport Prison and several of the men were honored at commencement
exercises in the prison chapel this fall, the first such ceremony at the prison facility. They
took pride in their achievements, donning one of two caps and gowns available for
photographs to keep or send home to loved ones. The "graduates" set a precedent at the
prison. The 14 began classes in June or August and all completed the curriculum and
testing for their certificates, the largest number ever at the facility.
Ms. Brown and Ms. Bryan teach through the Adult Basic Skills Department at Carteret
Community College and were clearly proud of their students. Several also completed
the GED testing and have received or will soon receive those diplomas.
Anthony Florence, director of programs at the prison, made opening remarks and urged
the inmates, as did other speakers, "to continue in your strides in education." Prison Chaplain John Sunburn, gave
the invocation, thanking the teachers for their efforts. Three inmates, Theodore Ford, Sean Young and Michael
Respess sang a moving a capella rendition of "One Day At A Time” and "Remind Me Dear Lord."
“This means doors have opened for you," said Vada Palma, Basic Skills Coordinator at the community college, who
gave the commencement address. "You really have a sense of empowerment when you are educated. My hopes for
each of you is that this is not the end of your quest for knowledge."
"I'm really proud of all you guys," said Ms. Bryan, one of the two instructors. "It has taken diligence and determination
and I appreciate how hard you have worked. Hold on to this day and this achievement." Mrs. Brown echoed those
sentiments as she, too, praised the men for their accomplishments.
Robert Harvey, case analyst at the prison, closed the ceremony by reminding the men that their achievements were
"just the beginning."
^Scd^futtcd dcf ^Antenet
Ukrainian Interpreter Enrolls at Carteret CC
It's been a long and interesting journey for Sasha Skripnik of
Kiev, Ukraine. He never dreamed that interpreting for a group
from the North Carolina Baptist Convention that visited his
Ukrainian church would lead to living with a Beaufort couple.
But he now lives with Raymond and Anita Earp of Beaufort, and
has just enrolled in a GED class at Carteret Community
College. Mr. Skripnik, 23, says he plans to get his GED and
enter a course of study at CCC. He also hopes to visit area
schools, churches and civic groups to talk about his native
Mr. Skripnik said he began learning English when he was 4
years old. While a teenager, he was asked to interpret for a
group from the North Carolina Baptist Convention who visited
his church. He later traveled to the village of Kilov to interpret
for a second delegation from North Carolina. Among the
delegation was Mr. and Mrs. Earp. During her two-week stay at
Kilov, Mrs. Earp helped Mr. Skripnik with his English writing and
speaking skills. Subsequently, he was hired by the N.C. Baptist
Convention as an interpreter for other delegations traveling to
the Ukraine to build churches.
Mr. Skripnik said he wanted to come to the United States and
received a visa in the fall of 1996. During his five-month visit, he
was a guest at the Earp's home. He traveled across North
Carolina speaking at 36 churches, schools and campuses
promoting missions work in the Ukraine.
In the spring of 1997, he returned home with plans to return this
fall and begin his educational studies. The return trip to the
United States proved difficult when customs officials in Detroit,
Michigan, rejected his papers and sent him back to the
Ukraine. "It was a long and sad trip back home," said Mr.
Skripnik. He didn't have the funds to buy another plane ticket
and visa for a return trip to the United States.
Mr. Earp, who is president of the N.C. Baptist Men's
Association, contacted Patrick Pitman of the Basic Skills
Department of Carteret Community College for assistance in
acquiring the documentation Mr. Skripnik needed. The N. C.
Baptist Men's Association raised the money for his airline fare
and other expenses to return to North Carolina. Mr. Skripnik
returned in mid-September and now lives with the Earps. He
enrolled in the GED program to review his grammar and math
skills, and will soon take the GED exam. He plans to enroll in a
course of study at CCC.
GED classes are offered through the Basic Skills Department
at CCC throughout the year. Classes are held days and nights
at no cost.
(Editor's Note: Sasha passed the GED. He enrolled Spring
semester in the College Transfer Program and plans to transfer
to a 4-year institution when he completes his program of study.)
-Suhrftted by Vada Pahn, Carteret CC