Maricopa Emergency Management System Alert

HSE Graduation Celebrates Classes of 2020 and 2021

photo of graduates with text 'Rio Salado College HSE student speakers for the class of 2020 and 2021'

HSE Graduation Celebrates Classes of 2020 and 2021

Rio Salado College will celebrate the Classes of 2020 and 2021 at its upcoming High School Equivalency (HSE) virtual graduation ceremony on Thursday, June 17 at 6 p.m. The ceremony will be live streamed on Rio Salado College’s YouTube channel.

Due to the pandemic, a graduation ceremony was not held in 2020. This year’s event will honor the 70+ students from the Class of 2020, and the 240 students from the Class of 2021, who have completed the GED® Test preparation program and earned HSE diplomas.

“We are proud to honor our HSE students who have persisted on their educational journeys despite all of the challenges of the past year,” said Rio Salado College President Kate Smith. “They have each shown incredible determination to succeed and demonstrate a legacy of hope for others to follow.”

Three graduates will serve as student speakers at the ceremony.

  • Semisi P. Latu - Class of 2020

Serving as the student speaker for the HSE graduating class of 2020, Semisi Latu successfully earned her high school equivalency diploma last year at the height of the pandemic. Today, she is a trip manager at Veyo Logistics and is pursuing an associate degree through Rio Salado’s Adults Achieving a College Education program (ACE). She credits Rio for her education success. “Rio Salado has an awesome GED program and offers amazing support. Getting my GED is the foundation from which my higher education will build upon. My future is brighter, and the possibilities are endless.” Semisi’s future goals include creating an organization that tackles issues affecting the transgender community, becoming a homeowner and being debt-free. Her advice to others is to “Be fully engaged in learning and make a difference in the lives of others.”

  • Rotasha Bellamy – Class of 2021

Rotasha Bellamy celebrated earning her HSE diploma by enrolling in the Medical Administrative Assistant IET program at Phoenix College. “Rio Salado helped me prepare for the future by giving me the skills and knowledge to continue my education.” Rotasha specifically appreciated the tutoring and mentoring she received from her Rio instructors. “The teachers took the time to sit and answer questions and made sure I understood what I was learning.” For Rotasha, graduation means a personal goal was met, and a better future in the medical field awaits. In the meantime, the aspiring homeowner continues to enjoy reading, singing, listening to music, and spending time with loved ones.

  • Alexandra Henderson - Class of 2021

For Alexandra Henderson, Rio Salado College came along at exactly the right time. “Rio’s HSE instructors have been some of the most helpful, kind, understanding and inspiring people I’ve met. They all made a conjoined effort to help me succeed no matter my life situation.” Alex overcame some personal challenges along the way to earning her HSE diploma but didn’t let that stop her from reaching her goal. “Rio Salado has prepared me not only for the workforce but also for continuing my education by providing support, advice, and meaningful opportunities.” She is proud to be graduating and serving as a role model for her young son. Alex’s future plans include earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in psychology and development.

The graduates are joining more than 20,000 adults who have earned their HSE diplomas through Rio Salado’s award-winning adult education programs over the past four decades. Rio Salado is the largest provider of adult education in the state of Arizona. 

The Arizona Department of Education named Rio Salado College as the Adult Education Program of the Year for a third year in a row last fall.

The Program of the Year Award criteria is based on student education and employment outcomes, student retention, cost per participant, compliance with grant requirements and timely reporting.

Rio Salado’s adult education programs include classes for GED Test Preparation, English as a Second Language, transitioning to college, career training and workplace education. classes and

Learn more about Rio Salado College’s adult education programs here.

Share this article