In Julie Male’s GED Express class in October at Kishwaukee College, the students represented a cross section of what happens in high schools across the country, resulting in students’ dropping out—bored with school, falling in with the wrong crowd, illness and then falling behind in school work. As a teenager, the only reasonable thing to do often seems to be drop out of school. A few years later, what seemed the only thing to do becomes the one action that narrows any options the student may have for the future. That is where GED Express comes in.
GED Express has been offered by the Adult Education and Transition Programs division of Kishwaukee College for the past several years. The class was created for students reading at the 11th grade level or above, who are motivated to complete the GED in a quick and efficient seven-day format.
The next GED Express class will begin November 30 and run through December 9. Students will meet Tuesday through Friday, November 30 – December 3 and Tuesday through Thursday, December 7 – 9 in the afternoon from 1 – 5:40p.m. Students prepare in the late afternoon each day for the corresponding test given the next day in the early afternoon. When the Express class is finished, the students will have completed all six of the GED tests. Students interested in the GED Express must reserve a space by November 12 by calling 815-825-2086, ext. 3370 or ext. 3180.
In the October GED Express class, students Eli Dawson, Andrew Clark, and Doris Anderson were enthusiastic about the new opportunities afforded them by completing their GED so quickly. Dawson, now living in DeKalb, dropped out of high school between his junior and senior year. “I was bored,” he stated simply. “My parents thought I was going backwards. I presented myself well and no employer ever checked to see if I had a high school diploma. I figured I’d go back to get the piece of paper when I needed to.” Years passed and Eli married and worked a series of jobs in the entertainment industry as a casting director. He and his wife relocated to DeKalb and he landed a job doing manual labor with a shipping company.
“The job discouraged thinking,” he said. “I always thought of myself as an ‘idea’ person. When I saw the Express class, I realized I hadn’t been in school in nearly 20 years. Now was the time to get the paper. If I had to spread this out over several months instead of two weeks in the Express class, I don’t know if I would have done it.”
Andrew Clark’s story is more recent. He dropped out of high school a little over a year ago. “I started hanging out with guys and getting into trouble. The school was going to kick me out, so I just left,” he said. “I was living day-to-day and not thinking about the future.” His Mom moved the family to
Sycamore and started checking into GED opportunities. She found the Express class. Andrew said, “My Mom told me about Express and I thought Two weeks? Let’s just do it!” The focus of the class has changed Andrew’s view of education. “I feel like being here has helped me focus on my life and what I want in five or ten years. Maybe I can go on and study business.”
Doris Anderson, DeKalb, found high school a daunting task after an illness set her behind her classmates. The death of her great grandmother—a source of inspiration and encouragement—was the last straw. “I just kind of gave up,” she said. The jobs that she could find paid poorly, were dead end, and discouraged thinking. She married, had children, struggled to pay bills, and overcame cancer. She felt empty. “What I learned is that some things you can’t change, but the things you can change, you should change,” she explained. Her husband is a Kishwaukee College student studying computer information sciences and brought home a GED Express flyer. “I read it and said ‘Let’s do it!’” she said. “I want to set an example for my children. I need to parent by example. It is my job.”
For Eli, Andrew and Doris, the GED Express class provided hope, encouragement, and the chance to open up life’s options again. Andrew said, “I recommend the Express class. This is a great opportunity to get your life back on track.” Doris agreed, “It is so easy to do—study one day and test the next— what a great program.” Eli added, “Starting and completing something is important, to see it through. GED Express is a journey that can get you there.”
For more information on the GED Express class that will begin in November, contact the Adult Education and Transition Programs division at Kishwaukee College at 815-825-2086, ext. 3370 or ext. 3180. Students interested in the GED Express must reserve a space by November 12.
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