Need a GED? No better time than now.
ABE makes a difference.
Botetourt County Public School’s Adult Basic Education Program is making a difference in the lives of many county residents. Just since late August, twelve graduates have received their high school grade equivalency diploma. In attempting outreach to publicize the program, however, it is the encouraging words of these students that best communicate what the program offers.
Russ Bradway of Fincastle started attending the free GED preparatory classes in late August and was ready to take the test in early November, passing all sections on his first try. The day his instructor text messaged him the results, Russ immediately returned to his hiring agency asking for a better job. He had been earning $8 an hour transporting parts for Advance Auto. Besides earning his diploma, another goal for him was to find better employment with better pay. Within fifteen minutes, he received a call from Altec telling him they wanted him to start that upcoming Monday.
“The piece of paper got me in the door! I wasn’t stupid but I didn’t have the piece of paper…I have finally done what I should have done 10 years ago and what a fool I’ve been,” he commented. Russ was hardly a fool; he scored high on his pre-assessment which indicated the specific skills he needed to review in order to pass the GED exam. Along with his energy and drive, this made his goal attainable in a short period of time.
Russ stated that his salary had tripled since earning his GED and he loves working for a company that has trained him and earned his respect by making the diploma a requirement for employment. When asked what advice he would give others without their high school diploma he stated, “Education, Education, Education…is the key. Get the piece of paper to get a good job!”
Carolyn Bayne, age 49, started classed at the Botetourt Technical Education Center in May of 2011. With a demanding job and caring for her mother, attending class became irregular and made the process slow. “It was not quite as hard as I expected,” Carolyn stated when asked about the difficulty of the subject matter covered in class. “It was good to refresh my brain.”
With the difficulty of attending classes though, she was able to take work home earning some distance learning hours. At the time she had been making a living driving a truck for Chemsolve but then lost her job. This allowed her to return to class more regularly in October and by mid December 2011 tested, passing all sections of the test. She is now employed by Eagle Transport and was congratulated by her terminal manager on her success. Carolyn was concerned over another student who was retesting a section that same day in December. “A lot of people get disheartened with it (GED testing), but they just need to keep a positive attitude no matter what is going on. Just keep going…tell her (other student) I wish her good luck.” Carolyn plans to take classes later on in crime scene investigation. Another recent graduate, Debra Carlson, found the county’s GED preparatory classes through a literacy link and joined day classes at Greenfield Education Technical Center in October 2011. She quit school in the eleventh grade and for 36 years has regretted that decision.
“I had to spend my entire life dodging jobs that I knew would check my educational background. It became a humiliating experience,” Debra said. She stated that attending class at first was terrifying because she felt so ashamed, but her instructor changed those feelings immediately.
In December, Debra wanted to try the test. She passed all sections except math. “I was so upset because I knew math was my weakness and I wanted this to be over, but my teacher reassured me without hesitation, that I could move forward and pass the math as well.” Debra continued classes, received one-on-one tutoring, and attempted the math test a second time. She did not give up and on January 19, she passed the math on her third try by improving her score 150 points.
“I had to search deep down within to understand why I was not passing when I had been given so many tools and knowledge from my teachers. I realized I had to take a deep breath, relax, and truly believe in myself.” Passing the math section and receiving the GED brought more to Debra than just a paycheck. “This was a whole new beginning for me. I finally feel like I belong and am complete. I want to take on the work place now with honor.”
She plans to go on and get a degree in Business Management with hopes of becoming a Human Resource Director. She is thankful to her husband and family’s support and encourages anyone out there trying to get his/her GED to “never give up.”
There have been many success stories according to Botetourt’s Adult Basic Education instructors. Some eighteen year olds with their whole lives before them are now equipped to take their lives in a completely different direction because of the high school equivalency diploma. Some young mothers and fathers are deciding that in order to raise their children, they need that diploma not only to better their lives, but their children’s lives as well. Some older adults are finding that going “back to school” can be easier than they thought. The reasons for pursuing the GED vary, but the results are the same. These individuals are given a second chance and have made the decision to improve their circumstances with education.
Those interested in working toward a high school equivalency certificate through Botetourt County are invited to register any time before May for the current session. Classes and materials are free and the test is offered monthly in Roanoke for a fee of $58. Instructors will prepare students with the needed skills and help register them for the test. Daytime classes are held at Greenfield Education Technical Center in Daleville on Wednesday and Thursday mornings 9:00 – 11:30 am and night classes are held at Botetourt EducationTechnical Center on Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6:00 – 8:30 pm. In 2013 – 2014, Virginia’s State Department of Education will be converting the GED test format to computerized testing. Currently, the format is still pencil and paper and is compiled of Science, Social Studies, Math Computation, Math Application, Reading, English and a Writing Essay. Contact Botetourt County Public Schools at 540-473-8216 for more information or visit the website http://ged.bcps.k12.va.us