25 Adults 22-plus are a testament for determination and resiliency

By Dick Maloney

 CLERMONT COUNTY, OH (October 14, 2020) – When your goal – one for which you’ve waited four years or more and one that could change your life – is in focus, nothing can distract you.

The 25 members of the most recent Adult 22-Plus graduating class at Clermont Northeastern High School provide testimony to that determination and resiliency. Since June 2018, 114 people have joined the ranks of CNE alumni, and many of them live outside the school district. This was the first of the five graduating classes to do so without pomp and circumstance, but the achievement is more than the recognition.

Bob Havrilla has instructed all 114, and noted the unique challenges this class faced. When school districts shuttered in March, the program lost three weeks of instruction time. Normally, there is no fixed schedule – students, many of whom work, meet with Havrilla when they are able, sometimes alone, sometimes in groups.  Some have a minimal number of credits needed to complete their high school course, others a more extensive amount. The transition from in-person to remote learning took time.

“The challenges were getting the tests to them, the necessary study guides, and then having them come in an at least share with me online or through some type of technology their answers to their tests,” Havrilla said. “I did a lot of work from my home by calling the students and so forth, and then we were able to open up on a limited basis to students, primarily one or two at a time, so we scheduled in half hour to an hour sessions.”

Josh Fleming faced his own scheduling challenges. The third-generation power line builder left Blanchester High School in 11th-grade “because of poor choices I made,” but pursued his degree through the Adult 22-Plus program so he could advance his career. A member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Fleming, 34, works 60-plus hours per week, and essentially has to restart the high school curriculum from the beginning.

A previous class of adult CNE grads (File photo)

“I actually went through a program in high school called virtual academy. That did not credit me any of that. I think that I basically had to start from ninth-grade,” Fleming said. “I was in Bob’s class for almost eight months. I was there a lot longer than most of his students, but that had to do with my job. I travel for my job and I had to basically start over because they didn’t really credit me anything for my virtual academy that I did in high school.”

Fleming had tried to continue his education through the Great Oaks system, but said Havrilla’s instruction methods were best for him because of its personalized nature.

“I’d been out of school for quite some time and they just kind of throw a computer at you and say ‘Hey, here you go.’ I don’t know how to use a computer, you know what I mean. I build power lines, so that didn’t really help me,” Fleming said.

“Bob was great. He helped me in any way he possibly could and he was there for me every day. Every day that I showed up he was there to help,” Fleming said. “Bob just basically simplified everything for us.”

Instruction is the journey; tests are the gateway to the final destination, and even there, detours were necessary. The state shut down the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) website, so instead, Adult 22-Plus students completed Capstone projects –independent research on a subject of choice.

“The Capstone projects I think were very beneficial for those who completed it. They have to do … a five-paragraph autobiography of themselves, who they were, and what events or circumstances have changed their lives in a negative or positive way,” Havrilla said.

 “How did they overcome a negative situation? What are their plans for the future? They actually set goals for six months, a year, five years. They have to do a career assessment, which I think is very beneficial for students, because many of them even though they’re working, they’re still trying to find out what they really want to do in life, and the career assessment gives them some opportunities to explore other possibilities.”



Graduates sharing their stories in the community helps perpetuate the Adult 22-Plus program. Many graduates are pursuing college degrees or career changes, and Havrilla writes letters of recognition for those taking that path. Havrilla is tutoring 37 students for the next class.

CNE usually celebrates its Adult 22-Plus classes twice a year – in January and June – with commencement ceremonies and a dinner at Norlyn Manor in Batavia. The event is every bit as joyous and serious as a high school or college graduation, and in many ways even moreso because of the life experiences of the graduates. Havrilla hopes this latest class, as well as the students currently in the program, will get their deserved acknowledgment. Each of the 25 has received their diploma and is an official CNE alumnus.

“The district still believes that we want to recognize this class in some way, and it might be that we might have to break it down into two ceremonies whenever the water clears for us to do that,” Havrilla said. “I think it’s very beneficial for the students to be recognized for their efforts. I think it demonstrates their willingness to do something they’ve never done before, and it gives their families the opportunity to celebrate as well.”

Anyone interested in the program can contact AdultDiploma@cneschools.org  or 513-625-1211 Extension 350, with any questions.

Adults who did not complete high school or earn a GED, lives in Ohio, and is over 22 years of age are eligible to enroll, regardless of school district. The flexibility of the program allows adults to work from home or with our caring and compassionate staff.

Members of Clermont Northeastern High School’s fifth Adult 22-Plus graduation class:

Destiny Nicole Allen

Brandy Begley

Tasha R. Brewer

Brianna Lee Brown-Huber

Suzanne A. Counterman

Dawn Michelle Downing

Joshua Michael Fleming

Cassie A. Forsey

Elizabeth Gatoby

Charlie L. Green Jr.

Yousif Y. Gwalima

Kasey Nicole Kain

Blair Ashley Kugele

Devin L. Lawson

Sierra Jordan Maple

Ashley R. McKerrick

Trevor A. Paytes

Jason Christian Perry

Jessica Sean Reed

Martika Marie Sanders

Marie N. Santiago

Daniel A. Stephenson

Timothy W. Swafford Jr.

Misty Tincher

Courtny A. Windsor