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Helping people help themselves
Adult education program in Bryan to offer fast-track GED
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Rick Smith, the adult education instructor for Bryan County, tutors students Skylar Stacy, left, and Mallori Johnson at the Richmond Hill Library on Thursday. - photo by Luke Hearn

A lot of people don’t know it but Bryan County has an adult education program. And something else a lot of people don’t know is that nearly 20 percent of adults in Bryan County over age 25 do not have a high school diploma or GED, according to Census statistics.

According to Rick Smith, adult education instructor for Bryan County, that number of adults who haven’t graduated high school doesn’t include those ages 16 to 24.

But Smith wants to see those numbers change. He’s been working in Bryan County for the past three years teaching students ages 16 and up the fundamentals of education, helping his students better themselves in certain areas and helping others get their GED.

"We see folks that come in with minimal literacy skills to those ready to take their GED exam," Smith said. "We help people get to where they want to me."

The adult education program in Bryan County is part of one sponsored by the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education which oversees all the technical colleges in Georgia. Savannah Technical College sponsors the programs in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham and Liberty Counties. They train in the areas of math, social studies, science, reading and literature, and writing essays, all of which are part of the GED examination.

Smith said many of his students go on to pursue academic programs at Savannah Tech after they’ve received their GED ranging from culinary arts to welding.

"For me it’s a neat thing to see someone come in…and not know where they’re going and then in six months be in a program at Savannah Tech ecstatic about their future," Smith said.

Smith said the programs are offered at no cost for the students, but the GED test does cost $95, which the test taker is responsible for.

Gail Eubanks, a spokesperson for Savannah Tech, said the school’s partnership with the adult education programs is a good match.

"It’s a natural linking of things for the individuals" because of the possibility of students segueing into the school’s academic programs, she said. "And it’s good for the community because people can engage and benefit from that."

Smith said the success rate for the adult education programs is high, and he said those that come in with a particular goal in mind seem to be especially successful.

"People who come in that are successful do have a goal in mind," he said. "They’re wanting to make a career change or are looking for a job promotion and it’s those motivating factors that make them successful."

Smith said the adult education program will start offering a GED fast-track program starting late July, allowing those interested to take a test, enter the program and then be prepared for the GED in just over two months.

Smith is in Pembroke on Mondays and Wednesdays and in Richmond Hill on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Those interested in the adult education program can contact Smith at 912-626-5048.

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