Chelsea Wetzel, of Westminster, has completed Carroll Community College's Adult Education Program and was set to receive her diploma on Friday night.
Chelsea Wetzel, of Westminster, has completed Carroll Community College's Adult Education Program and was set to receive her diploma on Friday night. (Courtesy photo)

Chelsea Gilmore Wetzel was in the end of her eighth-grade year when her family moved to Carroll County.

Wetzel, a Westminster resident, said she didn’t care for the school she was going to. It was a difficult transition, she said, because other kids had already established friend groups.


Wetzel decided home schooling was her best choice because she struggled with paying attention in a standard school setting.

But home schooling didn’t work either, she said.

“It was really hard for me to focus,” Wetzel said.

Wetzel, now 21, said she wound up not finishing school — instead, she went from job to job until about a year ago, when she realized she wanted to go to college but didn’t have a diploma.

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Now, a year later, Wetzel has gotten her GED and officially completed Carroll Community College’s Adult Education Program, allowing her to walk in the diploma recognition ceremony on Friday night, Oct. 19.

In addition to classes that prepare students for the high school equivalency exam, Raiana Mearns, the college’s manager of the Adult Education Program, said the college also offers a class to teach English to those who speak other languages.

“Those are our two primary programs that we have over here,” she added.

Mearns said students in the GED prep program take the classes and then once they’re ready, they register to take the GED exam, which is given at the community college. The test can take up to eight hours, she said. It focuses on language arts, social studies, math and science, she said.

“It’s quite intensive,” Mearns added.

There were 23 students planning on walking Friday, she said.

How long someone is in the prep program depends on the person because some people are just brushing up, but others still have a lot of information to learn, she said. They run four 10-week sessions every year, she added.

“A student can stay with us as long as they need to,” Mearns said.

And, she added, they’re low pressure and students can move at their own place.

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Mearns said they understand that adults in the program have outside responsibilities and sometimes families.


“We try to make it as accessible and as friendly as possible,” she said.

For Wetzel, the prep program and GED were the answer. She said she was a little nervous at first, but once she was there, the nerves melted away.

She said what really made the difference was the free math tutoring she got; that really helped her.

“All the teachers there and all the staff — they’re all so caring to your needs,” she said.

Wetzel said a year later, she’s happy she went through with the program and getting her GED.

“I can go to college, which is my end goal,” she said, adding, “I felt like this opened up a lot of doors. … I didn't think this was possible.”

For more information on the college’s Adult Education Program, visit or call 410-386-8100.