A keynote speaker and GED recipient told GED graduates not to let people minimize their achievement.
Sandra Braithwait didn't find it easy returning to school after she found herself alone with four young children to raise.
But more than 30 years ago, Braithwait found the determination to obtain her General Educational Development diploma, become a school teacher, and later, a school superintendent.
"I know from personal experience this can be one of the biggest milestones of your life," said Braithwait, superintendent of Clinton, Mo., schools and keynote speaker during the Lawrence GED recognition program.
"With hard work and determination and commitment and a purpose you can accomplish anything," she told about 150 people attending the ceremony at Southwest Junior High.
A total of 204 students earned their GED diplomas this year through the Lawrence public schools' Adult Learning Center.
Braithwait told students not to let people minimize their achievements.
"Does a high school diploma from Clinton, Missouri, mean as much as a high school diploma from Lawrence, Kansas? It's very subjective.
"But with a GED you have passed a test with certain standards that are viable," she said.
GED graduate Dorothy Mann, 32, also addressed the crowd, offering two bits of advice: "You're never too old to learn and there is no weakness in needing help. The only weakness is needing help and not taking it when it's offered to you."
Graduate Hannah Beeghley also said graduates should have vision and purpose.
"A task without a vision is drudgery, a vision without a task is a dream and a task with vision is victory," she said.
Linda McGuire, coordinator of Adult Basic Education, hosted the ceremony.
Members of the Lawrence school board also attended, with President George Crawford and Vice President Mary Loveland handing out diplomas.