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Computer CORE Graduates

Students equipped with computer skills for the workplace.

Students from 12 countries stretching over four continents have now entered the workforce thanks to their successful completion of a seven-month training program at Computer C.O.R.E.

Class speaker Paul Moore expressed his thoughts on the school before receiving his completion certificate.

"CORE has taken a young man and made him very confident. When I came here I knew nothing about computers," Moore said. "Now I have a good level of knowledge and I intend to further my technical education so that I can become a trained computer technician."

On Dec. 9, 35 graduates represented the school's 10th class, bringing the total number of graduates to nearly 300.

Designed to help low-income adults acquire the technological and life skills they need to pursue their career aspirations, Computer C.O.R.E. was founded as a non-profit service organization in 1999 by Debra M. Roepke.

Roepke also serves as its executive director. The program operates out of space provided by Fairlington Presbyterian Church.

In addition to the graduation ceremonies held in the church's fellowship hall, Roepke paid special tribute to Verizon which aided in financing the school's newly renovated computer lab. "This new lab enables us to greatly increase services to our students," Roepke said.

Chris Miller, chairman of the Computer C.O.R.E. Board of Directors, presented Roepke with a check for $3,200 raised by the board to aid in the renovation.

This year Alexandria Vice Mayor Redella "Del" Pepper served as the event's keynote speaker.

"I congratulate each and every one of you for making all the right choices to move, not only your lives, but also the lives of your families, forward," Pepper said. "I hope you will take this certificate, frame it and hang it high for all to see. Employers need smart workers like you."

Pepper was joined in congratulating the students by Liz Johnson of U.S. Rep. James Moran's office.

Each class is composed of four groups who attend classes based on their personal schedules. Each class meets twice a week over the length of the teaching cycle. Classes are held Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon; and Thursdays 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Each graduate received a graduation certificate from Pepper and Roepke.