Local District Involved in Initiative To Help Adults Earn GED

FAYETTEVILLE -- Fayetteville Public Schools Adult Education Center is taking part in the Arkansas Department of Career Education's move ahead initiative to get adults back in the classroom.

Johana Vega is one of the students back in the classroom at the center, working on her GED. After becoming pregnant as a teenager, she dropped out of school. At the age of 31, Vega said it was time to head back to class.

"I think that know that my kids are older, it's easier for me to be able to do things that I wasn't able to when they were younger," Vega said.

Vega says solving math problems and punching numbers on a calculator was not an easy task 15 years after leaving high school.

"To know that most of the stuff I was being tested on, I was not for sure how to do and I'm like 'I don't know if I really want to do this," Vega said.

But encouragement from her teachers and classmates is making all the difference.

"We kinda send messages, like 'you can do this', 'believe in yourself, you're gonna do great," Vega said.

The Adult Education Center has seen similar stories since the campaign started in January, with nearly 800 students enrolling this spring.

"People get out of school, they work, they support their families and then, they find out that they really need that high school diploma to be able to move ahead," said Dr. David Deggs, director of adult education for Fayetteville Public Schools. "It takes that one person in that family setting that example to say, you know, 'I can do this and you can too.'"

With her head in the books, Vega plans to graduate with her GED in May, is already taking college classes at Northwest Arkansas Community College and hopes to inspire her three kids to be successful in school.

"I tell them that you can have anything you want in life if you set your mind to it," Vega said.

The Fayetteville center is one of 42 adult schools participating in the initiative. GED training is paid for by state and federal funding and is free for students.

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