HATTIESBURG - Even though 35-year-old William Dobson was a regular student at Pearl River Community College in the spring semester, he felt it was important to receive his GED certificate recently in ceremonies at the Forrest County Center. Even though I have one semester under my belt, I felt it was important to come back for this because I earned it, said Dobson, who attends classes at PRCC Hancock Center in Waveland. Up until now he has worked as a nursing assistant. This certificate enables me to further my education, he said. I just wanted to take the next step. Im going to be picking up my books for the summer semester. Dobson was one of approximately 300 students to receive General Educational Development certificates through PRCC in 2011-12. Wearing PRCC traditional maroon and gold caps and gowns, about 60 took part in graduation on May 24. All of the graduates attended classes at one of PRCC adult education centers because they didnt finish high school. One of them was 17-year-old Garrett Pearce of Petal. We were playing football one day and I broke my ankle in three different places, said Pearce between taking pictures with his family. I missed about 10 weeks of school and missed too much school work. He plans to enter the automotive mechanics technology program at PRCC. You didnt just get your GED, you earned your GED, said Barry Upton, director of adult education at PRCC, to the graduates. You are all to be commended for reaching this milestone in your lives. Many of the graduates plan to enroll at PRCC, beginning with the fall semester. This past year, we had 677 students enrolled at Pearl River who had earned their GEDs, said Upton. PRCC offers adult education services in Columbia, Hattiesburg, Petal, Picayune, Poplarville, Prentiss and Waveland. For information, telephone 601-554-5551.