New, former students sought for GED classes
Laurens County, South Carolina – Among the continued difficulties following the COVID pandemic has been the unwillingness of some adults to return to their GED classes, and staff with Laurens County Adult Education are seeking new students and encouraging others to come on back and finish what they started.
“We still have online classes and there are always those who do all right with those,” said Velma Mason Austin, the College and Career Navigator with Laurens County Adult Education. “But some people really need the structure of the in-person classes and those are the ones we are trying to reach.”
The classes are completely free and any adult who needs a GED can apply for online classes or come to in-person classes. Potential students take a test for placement purposes and sign up for classes either in Clinton at United Ministries, 500 Academy Street, or in Laurens at 1029 West Main Street at the former location of the District 55 headquarters.
“We offer morning classes in Laurens from 8:30-12:30 Monday through Wednesday, and it includes child care and transportation for the mother and children and it’s all free for GED students,” Austin said. “Also in Laurens we have night classes from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.”
In Clinton the in-person GED classes are from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
If students need an extra boost to get ready for the GED coursework, basic reading classes are held at the Higher Ed Center behind the Laurens County Hospital, and that’s determined by initial interview and testing.
“We treat each student on an individualized academic path and if their skills are not strong enough to master GED, then we don’t want them to start out at a disadvantage,” Austin said. “So we help them get ready in classes at the Higher Ed Center, but otherwise classes are either in Laurens or Clinton locations.”
Students take the opportunity for many reasons, Austin said.
“Many students come back to school for their GED because they want a promotion,” she said. “Others have come back because there were either going to lose their jobs or be demoted because they don’t have a diploma or a GED.”
Under the direction of Joe Makla, Laurens County Adult Education has helped many adults gain their GED, and sometimes that occurs within families, Austin said.
Austin recently met a woman who had obtained her GED. She told Austin that almost 30 years ago her mother, now 92, had also completed hers at the age of 65 back when classes were held at the Cross Hill Fire Station.
“We have had graduation ceremonies with a husband and a wife, with a father and son and once with the grandfather and his granddaughter graduating together,” Austin said, adding that the family connections often provide the encouragement to push through and finish.
“People ask me how long it takes to get your GED and I say it’s different for everyone, but our staff is amazing and helps each student complete their individual plan,” Austin said. “It comes down to determination.”
Anyone seeking information about obtaining his or her GED can call 864-938-1524 at the Higher Ed Center Adult Ed office, or 864-984-5726 at the West Main St., Laurens, Center. Or they can email Austin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story was first published in the Wednesday, Nov. 2 issue of The Laurens County Advertiser.
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