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Hundreds of adult walk the stage for OACES graduation

Darrel King is one of hundreds graduating from OACES Wednesday night (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. – Hundreds of graduates walked the stage at the Hochstein School of Music Wednesday night in Rochester. They are all part of a program that proves you’re never too old to learn.

Darrel King wanted to set an example for his son.

“He was messing up in school and going down the wrong path,” said King. “I had to sit down and talk to him. He told me, ‘You didn’t graduate, and you are doing alright for yourself.’”

That’s when King decided to join OACES. It’s part of the Rochester City School District. It gives adult learners the opportunity to earn their high school equivalency.

King is getting hands-on experience in the automotive industry.

“They taught me how to problem solve, because not everything is going to be easy,” he said.

“Through our vocation education program, our students are taking the skills they already have – the care-giving skills, the mechanical skills – our program is giving them an opportunity to utilize their skills and receive credentials associated with that,” said administrator Dr. Narlene Ragans.

For students, it’s an education with opportunities.

“I’ve been a stay-at-home mom since 2015, without work,” said Valencia Brown, 32. “Before that, I was doing inventory. I had dropped out of school 10 years-plus, and I wanted to come back to school and get my GED so I can accomplish other stuff in my life.”

“Finding OACES was like finding an oasis, like, in the middle of the desert,” said Joya Wade, a student in the electrical program. “I had no idea it was here, and when I found it, the opportunities and people I met, and resources they have here, and their willingness to give us an education.”

King says his eyes are on the future ahead of him.

“My goal is to get into a good dealership for a few years and eventually turn it into my own shop, having my own shop,” said King.

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