“This Is My Victory”: City Colleges Celebrates Adults Who Earned Their High School Diploma


The Kennedy-King College Theater was abuzz on December 17, 2022, as students from six City Colleges were celebrated for earning their Illinois High School Diploma.

In a ceremony held that morning, students who completed Adult Education high school diploma preparation programs at City Colleges of Chicago were recognized for earning their diploma. They were celebrated by family, friends, and City Colleges faculty and staff who understand the hard work and sacrifice it took to get there. Over 100 City Colleges students earned their diplomas since June 2022.

During a speech given during the ceremony, Luis Narváez, Associate Vice Chancellor for Adult Education at City Colleges of Chicago, shared words of support and celebration with the graduates.

“Each of you has a unique story of success, but you are all connected by a larger goal—to change your life through education,” Narváez said. “With your high school diplomas in hand, I know brighter days are ahead for each and every one of you.”

Four students also gave remarks during the ceremony, sharing the stories of the obstacles they overcame and the motivation they found to reach their goals.

“At age 22, I wanted a career; I wanted a forever hobby—but everything I wanted to do required something I didn’t have: a high school diploma,” said Olive-Harvey College student speaker Alexis Cuadrado.

Indeed, a high school diploma can lead to a significant career and salary boost for those who earn one. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that people with a high school diploma are 37.5% more likely to get a job than those without one, and they earn, on average, $9,500 more per year than people without a high school credential.

“At the end of the day, I did it. I earned my high school diploma. This is my victory,” Alexis added. With her diploma in tow, she is now able to apply for cosmetology school and be

gin her journey towards her dream career.

If you’re ready to earn your high school diploma, City Colleges of Chicago offers free preparation classes for adults in English and Spanish, as well as English as a Second Language courses. Classes prepare students to take one of two tests: the General Educational Development (GED)© Test or the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET)©. Passing either test leads to a high school diploma issued by the State of Illinois.

View a slideshow from the ceremony below.