Stonington - A little more than two years ago, Kerry Cochran of North Stonington left Wheeler High School halfway through her junior year.
Before that she had attended St. Bernard School, but the now 18-year-old woman said she never felt comfortable in a traditional high school setting and didn't have the motivation to be successful.
"In elementary and middle school I was a good student. But things got bad when I got into high school," she said.
"I've always had some confidence issues. I wasn't happy with myself."
So after taking a few months off, she decided to enroll in the Stonington Adult Education program and pursue her high school diploma.
"I wanted to do something with my life. I just didn't want to work," she said. "So getting a diploma was important to me."
Last week, Cochran got that diploma after earning all As and one B in her remaining courses. She was chosen as the class speaker at the May 16 adult education program's annual commencement in the Stonington High School commons.
Cochran said she did better in the adult education program because she felt more comfortable in the environment and said the staff provided the support she and her fellow students needed to be successful.
She said she enjoys building things and now plans to go on to college or enter the Air Force.
Cochran told fellow students, "If you had the motivation to do this, we can now move forward and do other things in our lives."
Receiving their GED certificates were Jiraporn Liboria, Josh Fallon and Amy Sherman. Receiving their high school diplomas in addition to Cochran were Rafael Aguilar, Jillian Buck, Justin Cuevas, Donanova McAndrew, Theresa McDermott, Gabe Miller, Jordan Miller, Zach Perry and Madeline Wall. Obtaining citizenship were Anna Wrotniak-Brennauer and Margaret Hilton.