In July 21 Issue
Ten locals received their GED, or certificate of high school equivalency, last Thursday night at the Charlene S. Harris Adult Education Center in Russell Springs through the Project BEAM program, according to Carol Severns, a teacher with the successful program.
Of those 10, seven participated in the commencement ceremony where they accepted there GED in front of family and friends. Those seven were Tiffany Bolin, Alecs Crossland, Imelda Lemus, Lydia Pinkstaff, Grace Roy, James Staten and Tim St. Andrew.
Pinkstaff spoke to those in attendance about being out of school for more than 20 years without a high school diploma, raising children and now being a grandmother and the struggles she endured to finally achieve her GED.
"I just thought I could never do it but they told me that I could," Pinkstaff said of the adult ed staff who was always there for her. "Every day stuff got in my way but … but I finally realized how important it was."
Pinkstaff, who has four children and seven stepchildren, urged those there if they did not have their high school diploma to have the folks at the adult education center help them out, because it can become a reality.
"I've never had a cap and gown before so today holds dear to my heart," she said. "This GED opens a new door and I plan on continuing my education."
Rodney Johnson, the director of Russell County Adult Education, was the keynote speaker at the commencement, congratulating the graduates for their hard work while attaining their GED.
"You're going to have the opportunity for employment that maybe in the past wasn't available to you," he said, telling the graduates that they would likely earn $7,000 more per year just for attaining a GED."
Johnson said that the students could achieve whatever they wanted and held their future in their hands, whether it be continuing education at the college level, entering the workforce or whatever else they would choose to do.
Larry Chaney, the Project Beam director, also spoke, telling the students that he would do whatever he could to help them continue education and congratulated them for their monumental achievement.
Project BEAM is a program designed to help adults with reading, writing, math, science and Social Studies in preparation for the GED exam. The program is for anyone over the age of 16 who has worked in temporary or seasonal farm work in the past two years.
The program is free to anyone who meets the federal grant requirements. Severns said that the best way to find out if a person is qualified is to call her at 270-866-7520 or to e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
SCC's Project BEAM also provides services in Pulaski, Wayne, Clinton, McCreary and Casey counties.