DODGE CITY—Despite a challenging end to the school year and the threat of a global pandemic, an education center in Dodge City focused on helping students overcome their own challenges and recently celebrated its 2020 graduates.

Pam Gleason with the Dodge City Adult Education Center said nine of the center’s 24 graduates, who had completed 21 credit hours, received their diplomas in a graduation ceremony on Sunday, July 19, at the Dodge City High School Auditorium.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the center implemented some restrictions during the ceremony, Gleason said.

"We did social distance the families and graduates, wore masks and didn't have the reception after the graduation," she said.

During the ceremony, motivational speaker Joe Coles gave graduates a word of encouragement, emphasizing "what they accomplished getting their high school diplomas," Gleason said.

Coles told the graduates the achievement not only affects them today, "but could make a difference to others down the road in their family and other families," she said.

The speaker told the graduates they hold both their diplomas and the power to decide what they do with it in their hands, she said.

Gleason said this year’s graduates have a wide range of plans for life after graduation.

"Some have moved to new adventures in New York, Florida, Wichita and Fort Scott," she said.

Some plan to jump right into the workforce to save money for college in the future, Gleason said, while others plan to head straight into pursuits in higher education at two-year and four-year colleges.

The Dodge City Adult Education Center is a partnership between the Southwest Plains Regional Service Center in Sublette and the Dodge City School District, USD 443, Gleason said. It’s been open since 2001.

The center will be open for enrollment for the 2020-21 school year from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 6, and Friday, Aug. 7.