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OTC Ware County Adult Education Program Observes Literacy Week

Students read to preschoolers

Okefenokee Technical College (OTC) adult education students celebrated Literacy Week last month by reading to local Head Start preschoolers. According to OTC adult education instructor Cathy Daniels, adult students who are improving their own literacy and numeracy skills in the OTC adult education program enjoyed the opportunity to share some of their favorite children’s books with youngsters.

Governor Nathan Deal, by proclamation, designated September 8, 2013, as Literacy Day and September 23-29, 2013, as Literacy Week in Georgia. Okefenokee Technical College, a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), is among numerous organizations statewide that celebrated Literacy Week, as a result of the proclamation.

Daniels noted that the Ware County adult education program “chose Literacy Day as the date to award achievements in scholarship, or as we call it, level completions, as well.”

“When students enter the program, they are assessed,” explains Daniels. “After forty hours of class time, they are reevaluated.  When the reevaluation is completed and the tests are scored, many students find they have completed levels in math, reading, and language or possibly all three.  Accomplishments like these should be celebrated!”

“These students are smiling,” stated Daniels referring to the group of students gathered behind her, “because they have all improved their literacy skills and aspire to earn their high school credential or GED diploma and attend college.”

According to the International Reading Association, more than 774 million of the world's adults (nearly two-thirds of whom are women) do not know how to read or write, and roughly 123 million children lack those same skills, and are often denied access to education.

In the United States alone, approximately one-in-five adults cannot read well enough to function successfully in the workforce. Closer to home, 1.2 million Georgians over the age of 18 do not have a high school diploma or the equivalent, 18 percent of Georgia’s adult population. Among that number, Georgia has thirty-two counties where 30 percent or more of the adult population does not have a high school education. The number increases when 16- and 17- year-olds who drop out of school are included.

In its role of administering General Educational Development (GED) tests in the state, the TCSG is calling attention to the critical need for a fully literate Georgia, as well as to its free local programs and services that prepare Georgians to take and pass GED tests.

International Literacy Day, a declaration first proclaimed in 1965 to focus attention on worldwide literacy needs, provides a dedicated time for literacy advocates to elevate adult education and family literacy throughout their communities.

Also a participant in the celebration of literacy, Okefenokee Technical College requests assistance from area citizens and the community at large, including faith-based organizations, civic groups and community service agencies, to promote literacy and GED completion. Of particular importance is the fact that the current version of the GED test is expiring December 31. As a result, OTC officials are advising GED candidates to complete the GED testing series in 2013.

The following quick facts serve as talking points:

A person with a high school or GED diploma will earn $7,658 more annually than someone without a diploma, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

GED preparation classes are free. OTC has an adult education center in each of the six counties it serves.

The GED diploma is a first step toward better jobs, further training and higher education.

Two of every three people who take the GED test plan to obtain additional education.

In college, GED graduates perform as well as traditional high school graduates.

GED graduates are more likely to encourage their children to finish school.

Many GED graduates say earning their diploma helped them to improve their self-esteem.

The GED test measures many of the U.S. Department of Labor's necessary workplace skills that are valued by employers.

The GED test measures the skills and knowledge that traditional high school seniors should know and be able to do.

Georgia GED graduates may be eligible to receive the $500 HOPE GED Grant to use toward postsecondary education in Georgia.

The current version of the GED test is expiring at the end of 2013. GED candidates who have taken one or more tests should complete the series by December, or their scores will expire. Individuals in this situation need to finish the test now so they will not have to re-take the parts already passed.

The GED diploma is recognized nationwide and is accepted by more than 95 percent of U.S. employers, colleges and universities.

“Okefenokee Technical College is committed to assisting area citizens who need a GED diploma,” said OTC President Dr. Glenn Deibert. “Obtaining a GED is a life-changing milestone, resulting in more employment opportunities and higher earning potential. OTC is here to assist individuals to this end.”

“The goal of the OTC adult education program is to improve the lives of neighbors and friends and create more employment options by adding numbers to the well-educated, highly skilled workforce that attracts business and industry to our state,” added Andy Brannen, OTC vice president for economic development.

Persons prepared to take the GED test must first pay a $160 test fee for a battery of five tests or $32 per individual test.   Those who cannot afford the test fee may be eligible for financial assistance through a GED scholarship program administered by the Okefenokee Technical College Foundation or the TCSG. 

The GED Testing Program in Georgia is jointly administered by the GED Testing Service, LLC and the Technical College System of Georgia. The GED test is developed by the GED Testing Service, LLC.

Additional information about GED testing is available by calling 1-800-94 MY GED, visiting www.tcsg.edu and www.okefenokeetech.edu, e-mailing cdaniels@okefenokeetech.edu, or calling the Okefenokee Technical College adult education office at (912) 287-6580.        

Literacy Week 1

Photo: Level Completions 2
Okefenokee Technical College (OTC) adult education students celebrated Literacy Week last month in various ways. This group of students was among several who were celebrated for mastering specific levels in math, reading, and/or language. Those pictured are Brian Patrick Adams (L to R), Laureen Cobb, Autumn Lang, Sierra Ferguson, Cody Drury, Peggy Carr, Holly Morgan, Dahilia Velazquez, and Shirley Herrington.

Literac Day 2

Photo: Ms. Banks - O'Hara reads 3
Omegeia Banks-O'Hara, Ware County adjunct for adult education, is shown in the above photo reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar to a group of young learners.

Literacy Day 3

Photo: Nina G reads to children
Nina Garcia, OTC’s Ware County adult education program 2014 EAGLE nominee, reads to a group of preschoolers.

Literacy Day 4

Photo: Patricia M reads
Patricia Mobley’s group of youngsters listened intently as she read to them.  Ms. Mobley and several other adult education students took part in activities that celebrated Literacy Week in order to promote literacy in their communities.

Literacy Day 5

Photo: Students prepare for Literacy Day
Omegeia Banks-O'Hara (center), Ware County adjunct instructor for adult education, assisted Ware County adult education students with their book selections and encouraged them to read their books aloud to each other in preparation for the Literacy Week activities. Pictured are Nina Garcia (L to R), Nicole Weiland, Nellie Fitzgerald, Omegeia Banks-O'Hara (adjunct), Patricia Mobley, and Sinteria Weatherspoon (seated).

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