Those who have not completed their high school education have a generous – and affordable – opportunity to receive an equivalency diploma.
Madisonville Mayor Bill Parten and his wife, both educators, helped start GED classes more than 20 years ago with assistance from Workforce Solutions Brazos Valley and the Madisonville school district.
“It’s helping people,” Parten said. “It’s giving them another opportunity so they can get a job. I think it’s given a lot of kids an opportunity to move forward with a job or going to college or trade school so they can move on with their lives.”
Parten is director of the Madisonville Adult Learning Center at 714 Bacon St., where GED classes are held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Secretary Mary Walker said 52 students currently are enrolled but they can accommodate more and accept walk-ins.
“We have some who, due to circumstances, had to drop out of school, but they’re not going to give up,” Walker said. “We have some who are older. It’s really a mix. Our youngest is 15 and the oldest is probably in his 60s.”
The students attend classes for various reasons. Some are trying to get better job opportunities or better pay; others just want to grow or set an example for young people. Parten recalled a woman in her 80s who took classes with her grandchild.
The classes are free, and it costs just $35 per section to test. There are four sections. There are no deadlines or time constraints, so attendees can work at their own pace.
“We had a girl who enrolled and passed the math portion of the test immediately, so that’s part’s done,” Walker said.
Instructors are certified teachers. Students can show up for classes and register on site with Walker to get started on an enrollment package.
“I know that it has been successful,” Walker said. “We’d love to have more people and better serve more people. Everybody deserves to have equal pay. It’s always good to see that affirmation, to see everyone have that chance. You never know the circumstances of why someone has had to drop out of school and they should have the opportunity to earn a diploma. We’re going to support them every step of the way.”
For information, contact Mary Walker at (936) 349-8003.