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Summer GED graduates: Going backward to move forward

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Summer GED graduates: Going backward to move forward

 Visit this link for more about the ABE-GED program.  

 


Release date: June 28, 2013

 

MAYHEW – You’ve heard of high school dropouts leaving school to go to work. Larry Malone left work to go back to school.

 
Malone, 20, of Macon, is one of 94 students to earn their GEDs from East Mississippi Community College’s Adult Basic Education division this summer and one of 45 to participate in a graduation ceremony Thursday evening at EMCC’s Golden Triangle campus.
 
When Malone told his bosses that he planned to attend GED classes at EMCC last fall, they told him he had to choose between his job and school.
 
“I said ‘I’ll see you later.’ It wasn’t hard,” said Malone.
“I have two kids, and making $8 an hour wasn’t gonna get it.”
 
Malone would have graduated from Noxubee High School in 2010 if he hadn’t fallen in with the proverbial wrong crowd. He got in fist fights in school, and was expelled. When he became a father at the age of 17, he began to distance himself from his old social circle.
 
“They had money and were driving cars,” he said. “Now those guys are working at catfish farms for $7 an hour. Some are locked up in jail. Some are on powder or crack cocaine.”
 
After the birth of his second child, Malone decided to return to school.
 
“I would tell kids now, get with a group of people who are trying to go somewhere,” he said.
 
Malone wants to enroll in the Commercial Truck Driving program at EMCC. He’s been lucky to have the support of his mother, who kept his children at times and gave Malone gas money to make the drive from Macon to Mayhew, where EMCC’s Golden Triangle campus is located.
 
“It feels real good to have my mom’s support. But at the same time, I feel like I owe her,” he said.
 
More open doors ...
 
Octavius Collins of West Point doesn’t have kids to take care of, but as he approaches 40, he also decided a GED would open more doors.
 
“I’ve had enough of taking these low-paying jobs. I’m training people, and I know more than they do, to move up before me. But because I don’t have that piece of paper, I’m not qualified,” said Collins. “After this, I’m going to go to technical school at EMCC and get ready for some of these new industries so I can get ahead of the game. I don’t want to get left behind by the next century with this technology.”
 
While thankful to have a second chance at earning an education, Collins admits the schedule took a toll on him as he maintained his job at a manufacturing plant in Tupelo.
 
“The hard part was working at night. I’m getting home at 3 a.m. then getting to class at 8 a.m.,” he said.
 
“Every morning I wanted to quit. But I would never let the instructors know. I was dog tired.”
 
Collins credits his instructors and counselors at ABE with keeping him focused on his goals.
 
“They really care and they drove it home. They give you what you need when you need it, and without them this probably would have never happened for me,” he said.
 
News from the ABE program
 
EMCC recently rebranded its ABE program, based at the Golden Triangle campus, as The Launch Pad. The ABE curriculum was retooled in October of last year to increase class offerings aimed at passing specific tests.
 
“ABE has the connotation of being only GED testing and that’s what we’re trying to get away from. It’s basic skills enhancement, ACT prep, WorkKeys prep, industry assessment prep and more,” said Jim Bearden, ABE Director for EMCC.
 
Along with more targeted instruction, the Launch Pad is working to help interested Golden Triangle residents complete their GEDs before the test goes strictly online nationwide in 2014, at which point any partial scores for students who took the test in the past but didn’t pass all sections will be lost.
 
In addition to losing partial scores, the price for online GED testing in 2014 is set to rise to $125.​

 

Larry Malone of Macon stands with his family

after receiving his GED during graduation Thursday
at East Mississippi Community College’s
Golden Triangle campus.

 

   

 Here’s a look at the summer 2013
GED graduates who participated in commencement at the
Golden Triangle campus:

 

Annie Barnes - West Point

Nikita Bell - West Point

Shelita M. Bell - West Point

Tashema Antonique Bibbs - Starkville

De’Ondra Don’Sha Brown - Columbus

Delana Cain - West Point

Keifer Carver - Steens

Carol Ann Cassell - Columbus

Latoyria Denise Collins - West Point

Octavius M. Collins - West Point

Gabrielle Conner - Columbus

Cameron Davenport - West Point

Kimberly Renee’ Dearing - West Point

Macy Decker - West Point

Gregory Eacholes - West Point

Katrina Denise Edwards - West Point

Robert Fair - West Point

Gabriel Flores - Columbus

Michaela Frank - West Point

Beverly Regina Gandy - West Point

Robard Gibson - West Point

Precious Faith Gilleylen - Steens

Stacey Hilario - Caledonia

Megan Isbell - Starkville

Peggy Ivy - Columbus

Emma R. Jones - West Point

Steven Kent - Maben

Pierce R. Long - Columbus

Dontavious Lucious - West Point

Larry Malone - Macon

Markeyla Martin - Caledonia

Candice Shanta McBride - Starkville

Jamal T. McBride - Starkville

Andre’ Mitchell - West Point

Jennifer Morgan - Columbus

Helen Marie Rice - Starkville

Raymond Antonio Shelton Jr. - West Point

Quijuana Spraggins - West Point

Lena L. Swift - West Point

Terry Tanner - Louisville

Laketra Vaughn - Columbus

JaQuentin Walker - West Point

 Xavier Washington - West Point
Kayla  Young - Scooba
Opal Leigh Young - Scooba

 

  
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