Graduate speaking at podium.

Wennona Joy Newsome is living up to her middle name. “I’m enjoying me now. I’m figuring me out, something I should have done when I was younger,” she said.

At 50 years old, she has earned her high school diploma and has a plan for her life. She will continue as a lay minister while pursuing a career as a traveling physical therapist.

Student working on assignment at desk.Wayne Community College is essential to reaching her goal. Although it took her a couple of decades after she first walked in the doors, she not only earned her diploma through the Adult High School program of the college’s Transitional Programs for College and Career but was the 2022 graduation speaker.

Her next stop will be a program of study at WCC that will prepare her for university study.

Newsome was on track to graduate from Goldsboro High School in 1991 when her life took a detour to motherhood. She thought she would go to Wayne Community College to get her diploma, and actually did make a couple of attempts to start, even working toward a GED but deciding she needed the classroom environment that Adult High School would provide.

But “things spiraled out of control,” she said. She had two more children, a couple of abusive marriages, and a debilitating injury to her right arm that required a long hospital stay then learning to use her left hand and rehabilitation.

It was during her recovery that she discovered an interest in physical therapy. She also realized that “to be able to help other people, you’ve got to help yourself. You’ve got to put the work in.”

That realization echoed what her mother, a preacher who brought Newsome back into the church and into the ministry, had told her. “You’ve got to get your life together. God has great plans for you,” she recalls her mother saying.

Graduate hugging loved one.

Part of that plan was getting her high school diploma and moving forward with her education.

“I came back to finish what I started,” she said of the WCC Adult High School program. Again she was faced with devastation, losing five relatives, including her mother. It was a mantra of her mother that helped her push through to earn her diploma: “Be good to yourself because if you are not good to yourself, everyone is in trouble.”

When Newsome struggled with algebra, she asked her teacher, Michael McCrae, for assistance and he gladly helped her. Rather than intimidating, she found that the younger students “were encouragers, especially the ones who finished before me.” Newsome herself became a cheerleader for her classmates.

“It was good. It was fun,” Newsome said.

She is looking forward to starting on her associate degree this fall. “It is going to fly by fast,” Newsome said. “I have goals. I am not going to let up until I reach my goals.”


Regardless of when you left high school, there is a program in Transitional Programs for College and Career at Wayne Community College that will allow you to earn a high school diploma or equivalent.

Adult High School
The Adult High School program offers on-campus classes in more than 30 subjects from the standards such as English, Biology, and Chemistry to those like Life and Job Skills and Achieving Postsecondary Pathways that prepare adults for higher education or the workforce. Students take the courses they need to complete the requirements for a traditional high school diploma and they earn a diploma that is issued by both Wayne Community College and Wayne County Public Schools.

High School Equivalency
Wayne Community College offers two High School Equivalency options, the GED (General Educational Diploma) test and HiSET test. The tests assess knowledge in language arts, writing, mathematical reasoning, social studies, and science. Both result in credentials that are accepted by employers and institutions of higher education across the nation. The GED test is computer based and the HiSET is a paper-and-pencil exam.

For both the Adult High School and High School Equivalency programs, new students start with a test to determine math and reading placement. These tests are given during orientation sessions. The orientation schedule is posted on our website.

While in the AHS or HSE programs, students can enroll in Basic Skills Plus to take college classes in certain career pathways. Some of those tracks are Certified Nursing Assistant, Machining, Emergency Medical Technician, Welding, Medical Office Administration, Industrial Systems Technology, Certified Production Technician, and Turfgrass Management.

To get started in a TPCC program, contact Harold Warren at [email protected] or 919-739-6921.