Rose Riley completes
60-year journey in CNE’s Adult 22-Plus program
By Dick Maloney
For Clermont Northeastern Schools
Rose Riley doesn’t talk about the “good old days,” when she
would walk 14 miles to school in her bare feet in a snowstorm to get an
education. Instead, she accomplished something as impressive this summer.
Riley, 77, a Bethel resident, is the most recent graduate of
the Adult 22 Plus Program at Clermont Northeastern Local School District, which
gives adults 22-and-older the chance to complete their high school course of
study and earn a diploma. She received her diploma at the Sept. 20 Board of
Education meeting at CNE Middle School.
Riley – then Rose Arnett - was attending Taft High School in
Downtown Cincinnati when she left school in the 10th-grade to help
her single mother take care of the household – a household of nine children.
Rose Riley fell right in the middle of the familial order.
“I took a
job to help out at home. I went to school during the summer when school was out
and never went back. Dropped out in the 10th-grade,” Riley recalled. “And I
always wanted to get my high school diploma, and something always seem to come
Riley worked at various factory jobs, including the old Roth
Shirt Co., which is where she was employed when she dropped out. The money was
good, and needed – too good to just walk away.
“I just had
the intentions of going there in the summer, just working in the summer and
going back to school, but somehow I seem to get talked out of not going back,
the paychecks seemed good and sure enough, I didn’t go back,” she said.
eventually married Randill Riley, and they raised three children. – Beckum, who
is a CNE graduate, and Brandy and Kimberly, who are Bethel-Tate graduates. Randill
is retired from the Village of Bethel as an electrician. Rose became a
certified nursing aid – “I got through that, I did get that,” she said – before
retiring last year. That free time gave her a chance to fill a void.
about the program out of the newspaper advertisement, and when I heard that
they do one-on-one, I thought ‘That’s for me’ because I’ve tried other times
and it just didn’t get to me how to do this, catch on to that, because I’d been
out of school 50 years, and this one did it,” Riley said of the Adult 22-Plus
“I was at
the point that I was going to go to this school for how long it took, two to
three years, five years, I was ready to keep going, because the program just
worked for me. My instructor, (program coordinator) Bob (Havrilla), he seemed
to get through to me. If one explaining way didn’t work, he would try another
way to explain how to work out a problem or the meaning of something, and it
would just click. Right away, I knew if I was going to get my diploma this time,
it was going to be here at this program.”
who has now graduated 39 through the Adult 22-Plus Program and has another 40
or so in the system, marveled at Riley’s initiative and perseverance.
11 credits, or nine credits, which was 11 subjects. She was very dedicated,
very supportive, very eager to learn. She attended class every day that we
offered class. She started when we got there on time and she stayed until we
left. Every day,” he said.
in the program in early July; her course of study took 3 1/2 weeks.
four days a week, and she was there every day,” Havrilla said, acknowledging
some challenges faced with designing a curriculum for someone who had been out
of school for 50 years.
“I’ve had a
couple that needed like 13, but trying to get her transcript, that was … we
couldn’t find one, the school couldn’t find one. She basically started over.
But again, her dedication was super.”
admitted to some nervousness at the beginning, but was determined to get her
have walked from my place in Bethel to get to this school that I was coming to.
If I had to walk I would have. The program was just right for me,” Riley said.
It helps that Riley, in her own words, “likes to learn.”
was coming back. I always did remember it when I dropped out in the 10th-grade
that English was my favorite subject and it just seemed to come right back
after all this years, the subject. And after the third time of coming I was
starting to like learning. I like to learn and it was coming back, I remember,
so it wasn’t really forgotten. I thought, ‘Oh, I’m going to have a hard time, I
forgot this, I forgot that,’ and it just seemed like it came back, the subjects
did, and I wanted to get more and more. Here I am.”
hand, she may put it to use.
thinking about going to back to work now that I’m a high school graduate. Maybe
something better, who knows. Just something to keep me working. I like to
work,” she said.
supportive family – she also has four grandchildren - eased her journey.
it’s great. They know how … my husband knew from the beginning when we were
dating that I wanted my high school diploma,” she said. “My kids, they’re very
happy that I’m getting it finally. It’s something that I’ve wanted since, I
would say, maybe three weeks after I dropped out of high school. I was just
sorry. It seems like all through the years something was missing.”
completed a lifelong goal, Havrilla said he got just as much from his time with
every day, but one special moment, she was taking one of her tests and I had
another young man there that I talked to about ‘Try to attend more often’ and
he sort of interrupted me when I was explaining something to her, and she
turned around and she said, ‘Young man, why don’t you listen to your teacher,
because he will help you do this,’ and the young man sat down, started writing
and before she left, he actually drew her a rose and handed it to her. So her
telling him to pay attention was probably the highlight of the program so far
Anyone interested in the program can contact
AdultDiploma@cneschools.org or 513-625-1211 Extension 350, with any
Any adult who did not complete high school or earn a GED,
lives in Ohio, and is over 22 years of age is 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.
too late. It comes back to you. If you get into a class and you’re wanting to
go back and one class doesn’t work for you, try another one, but this program
worked for me.
program has just changed my whole life, it seems like. It’s wonderful. I
recommend it to anyone … that it can be done.”
CNE, in partnership with the community, will provide
students with the skills and exploratory experiences that enable them to reach
their fullest potential. To accomplish this, the CNE staff will:
• Strive to make children confident and creative builders of
• Research, design, and provide the best academic program
and learning environment possible for students.
Schools in the CNE District include Clermont Northeastern
High School, Clermont Northeastern Middle School, Clermont Northeastern
Elementary School and Clermont Northeastern Preschool.