LaRue residents reap the rewards of adult education

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GEDs will be presented in ceremony at LaRue County High

By Ron Benningfield

Come 6 p.m. Monday in LaRue County High School’s auditorium, several adults will be rewarded for their initiative, perseverance and hard work in gaining their GED.

“General Education Development is the nationally recognized high school equivalency test,” said Sarah Hornback, director of family services who coordinates the program.

“In today’s economy, it is more important than ever to earn a GED,” she said. “Competition is fierce with hundreds of applicants for the limited number of jobs available. Many factories are now requiring an academic test in reading and math to even accept an application.”

The extra education can be monetarily rewarding too. Hornback quoted the Partnership for Kentucky Schools, which stated that a high school dropout will earn an average of $21,000 a year; a high school graduate, $28,123; and a person with an associate or technical degree, $32,500.

Housed at the LaRue County Board of Education in Hodgenville, the Learning Center’s adult ed program has served over 250 people this year. Fifteen have qualified for their GED, but the center helps others as well. 

It provides three developmental college classes through Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, preparation for the Kentucky Paraeducator Assessment, the COMPASS assessment for adults entering college for the first time and English as Second Language classes when there are enough students for a class.

“Some come to us only to take an assessment for employment or for a government program,” said Hornback. “Some come to brush up for college and, of course, many come to work toward their high school credential.”

Students who pass the Official GED Practice Test are eligible to take the actual GED at a testing center, the closest being at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College.

The GED exam costs $50 initially and each re-test, if needed, is $25. Students register online, pay the fee, and then receive an appointment at the testing center. The full test battery takes over seven hours so students generally take the tests over the course of two days. Students can check their scores online and find out their results in less than a week.

Of those who attend class for at least 12 hours, about 45 percent persist long enough to reach a level gain which is established by the National Reporting System and generally covers two or three grade levels.

“Our GED recipients this year range in age from 16 to 57,” Hornback said.  “Overall, in LaRue County Adult Education, less than 20 percent of our students are under the age of 21. Thirty-one percent are over the age of 35. This year our oldest student was 78.”

Because adults have a variety of commitments, Hornback schedules classes to maximize learning. Students work in class, at home, on the Internet and in study groups.

“We even have a family program where we provide transportation and childcare so families can learn together,” she said. “We offer morning, afternoon, and evening classes and online instruction as a supplement to our in-class instruction.”

Instructors at the Learning Center are Bob Ernst, Melcenia Sprowls-Shelton and Hornback. Garry Ross is the instructor at the LaRue County Detention Center.

During the summer, classes are held on Tuesday and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. until noon while afternoon/evening classes are from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.

“It’s never too late to learn,” Hornback said. 

For more information, contact her at 270-358-8334 between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.