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Thu, Aug. 22

Yavapai College program to help area GED grads

PRESCOTT – For more than 10 years, Yavapai College has offered basic education classes to the citizens of this county.

About 1,000 students enroll each year in free General Educational Development (GED) study and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes, which are part of the Adult Basic Education (ABE) Program.

"During fiscal year '98-'99, we served a total of 965 students and delivered a total of 36,638 service hours through our county-wide program," said Becca Krieger, ABE project director.

There are now 16 programs throughout the county with the latest starting in Rimrock.

"We are beginning the program (there) with a volunteer who is going to teach for a semester," Krieger said. "We applied for a collaborative grant with Beaver Creek School (and) didn't get the funding but we are going ahead with the program. The people at Beaver Creek School have been so very helpful in getting this off the ground. If there is a lot of interest, we will again try to get funding."

Krieger recently learned that the college will receive $191,000 for the academic year 2000-01. The state was especially pleased with the college's five-year plan, which corresponded with its own, she noted.

The increase will allow the program to hire a full-time instructor for the Verde Valley. The college also hosts the program in Ash Fork, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley, Prescott, Black Canyon City, Yavapai County Sheriff's office and the Yavapai-Apache Nation.

The program helps students with resumé writing and even teaches them how to use the Internet. Some continue with their education after earning their GED.

Daniel Hunt is an example of how students excel. He returned to Yavapai and earned his GED after being out of high school 13 years. He enrolled in classes with plans to earn a dual degree in elementary education/special education. Exemplary academic accomplishments and community service earned the re-entry student a spot on the All-Arizona Academic First team in 1998. He then won a place on the All-USA Academic First team as one of the top 50 community college students in the nation.

According to Krieger, the GED program is taking on an added dimension.

"We always had students who elected to continue their education, but now we are developing a program designed to help more students make the transition into college after earning their GED," she said.

Officials are also expanding the college's ESOL offerings.

"We will now have classes in Ash Fork and Prescott Valley, and are piloting a 10-week citizenship course this semester for people who want to become citizens of this country," she said.

The college also offers GED classes at the Prescott and Camp Verde jails through a collaborative agreement with the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office.

"We have had a number of students who get out of jail and then come to Yavapai to continue with the program," she said.

For more information on GED classes or to volunteer, call 776-2094 or 776-2085. For ESOL classes, call 717-7609.

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