December 2, 2013

GED program changes lives: Free study and testing weekend starts Dec. 6

By R. Scott Belzer
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — With the Dec. 31 deadline looming closer and closer, Laurel County Adult Education and Literacy (LCAEL) is giving test takers a crash course in all things GED by having the London center host a GED Extreme Weekend for a final time Dec. 6-8.

The event gives those willing a chance to study and test all in a single weekend. This is especially important when considering the GED will be converting to a new format in January, leaving those who have not finished the test with nothing more than expired scores.

“There are 380 adults in Laurel County who took the current test, have good scores, and just need to finish,” said Kathryn Hardman, director of LCAEL. “Those students have until Dec. 18 to make those scores count. After that, scores from past tests, for those who have not finished, will no longer be valid.”

The GED Extreme Weekend has proven to be quite successful for many local students. Dozens have been able to complete their testing and score quite well through these crash course events. The program primarily helps students focus on one or two subjects on Friday and Saturday before partially testing on Sunday. The following weekend, the process is repeated and the examination is completed. LCAEL provides food and drink throughout the weekend, making sure everyone’s number one priority is studying and testing.

“Just make sure you bring energy drinks; they’ll take care of the rest,” said Rod Collins of London, who recently took part in the program. “It’s a very stress-free environment.”

Collins, 40, is living proof of what the GED Extreme Weekend can do. Originally from Dayton, Ohio, Collins fell on hard times when several General Motors plants folded. He moved to London as a result, but found the London factory industry lacking in opportunity. After seeing an ad for adult education and the GED Extreme Weekend in The Sentinel-Echo, Collins made his move and earned his GED this past May and July.

“I started taking classes four days a week. The math was what I struggled with the most, but the program has people that work with you one on one and won’t let you quit,” Collins said. “My 12 year-old daughter also helped me out with some of the stuff I had forgotten. The great thing about the weekend is, if you’re not where you need to be, they’ll work with you.”

Since earning his GED, Collins hopes to enter nursing school. He says he cannot wait to put on scrubs and pick up a clipboard.

The program has also played a major role in jumpstarting a future.  East Bernstadt resident Kaylee Cawood, 16, took advantage of a GED Extreme Weekend in late October and only has 20 points to go out of 2250 before earning her GED.

With her final exam out of the way, Cawood hopes to attend Somerset Community College and make the most of it.

“If you go into it with the right mind set, you can get stuff done,” Cawood said. “They have people that sit down with you and make sure you’re on the right track. Plus, the testing is free, which is great.”

Friday, Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. marks the beginning of the next GED Extreme Weekend. Instructors and staff at LCAEL are set to assess each student’s needs and provide a tailored strategy for success. Specific instruction will be given all day Saturday whereas Sunday will be devoted to the administration of the Official GED Examination.

“We have scheduled several test dates in December,” Hardman said. “There is still time for anyone interested in getting their GED to start and complete the process before the deadline, but they need to call us immediately.”

The GED Extreme Weekend will be held at the London Bennett Center Campus starting Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. Call (606) 878-9134 to register.

 If you have any questions about earning your GED, adult literacy, or English as a second language, call LCAEL’s London office at (606) 878-9134 or its Corbin office at (606) 528-0379.