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HCC Celebrates GED Success Stories During Literacy Month

King Richardson Webb

The General Educational Development (GED) Program is one part of Halifax Community College’s (HCC) Literacy Education Program. The college has an open-door policy of continuing education for everyone who has the need and desire to learn. Any adult, 18 years or older, may enroll and there is no registration fee, with classes that are open-entry, open-exit.

Graduate Johnnie King decided to pursue his GED in June 2007 because he was in the public eye as a minister and he “didn’t want to be a hypocrite.” With his wife encouraging him and after telling his mother that he would go back to school, King felt pressed to follow through on his education.

“I needed that routine and it was great to have that push…It was great to have a second chance,” he said. King started the GED program in September 2007 and graduated in May 2008. He tried five or six times over a span of 20 years to earn the GED. “My mindset was not right then.”

King drives a truck for a living and is a minister at his church. He originally grew up in Roanoke Rapids and has lived in Enfield since 1996. He has a wife and three children. “Earning the GED has greatly benefited me. I am able to speak on education and know where I stand.” In the future, King would like to study criminal justice or basic law enforcement at HCC.

“If you need help, don’t be ashamed…The instructors are right there to answer questions and are very helpful…Coming to the community college, you have great access to everyone. If you don’t take advantage of what is being offered here, you’ve lost out on a treasure…I’m glad I came back and was able to get my GED,” said King.

Irene Richardson decided to pursue a GED in 1998. She started out attending classes at a gospel clinic, then the Haliwa-Saponi Tribal Complex. The last class site was located at her church, White Rock Baptist, so she could walk a short distance from home to work on her studies. Residing in Hollister, Richardson graduated with a GED this May.

“It was a challenge for me to make sure that I could do it,” she said. “So many people have dropped out of school. If they would just stop and think about what’s going to happen in the long run. The ways things are going, if you don’t have some sort of education, they’re not going to be able to do anything.”

Richardson worked for 10 years to earn her credential. She credited the instructors and her friends with helping her persist. Three or four times, she lacked only 60 points of passing the exam, but she was determined to finish. The wife and mother of five adult children and six grandchildren celebrated her 40th wedding anniversary on August 31.
“You’ve got to have a good steady mind and be willing to stick with it.” She recommended the experience and said it was convenient to attend class. While working on her GED, Richardson also worked in the home health field. She is now retired.

June Webb started on a GED, but had to stop for health reasons. A second attempt did not work out either. Finally, she decided to try again and she started back on the GED, this time at Cool Spring Church. She had problems understanding the algebra portion, but the instructor was able to explain it in a way that Webb could grasp. After that, she attended classes on the main campus.

With the help of HCC instructors, she graduated in June 2007 and marched in the 2008 commencement. A retired factory worker, she wanted to earn her high school equivalency.

“Getting my GED was something I always wanted,” she said. “It has given me self-satisfaction.” A resident of Garysburg, she is a wife and mother of six children, 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Her future goals include trying to conquer the computer and to do more in her Bible studies.

“Know that people are willing to help you, even when you goof up. They encouraged me, and they make it easy and simple for you…If you are doubting, just know that if I can do it, anyone can do it. The Lord has blessed me,” she added.

HCC is a licensed GED test center open to those interested in registering for the exam. The GED exam offers high school equivalency credentials to individuals who did not obtain a high school diploma. Five subject areas including language arts/reading, social studies, science, language arts/writing and mathematics are tested. The cost of the program is the exam fee of $7.50 and on-campus students are required to purchase a $2 photo identification badge and a $3 parking permit. The program is also available to those who have a high school diploma/GED and want to improve reading or math skills. This service is free to students.

A minimum score of 410 on each of the five tests and a total score of 2250 for the entire test is required to earn a GED. Preparation can be completed at the HCC Learning Lab on the main campus or at the Adult Basic Education/GED off-campus sites. Students who successfully complete the exam are awarded a high school diploma equivalency from the N.C. State Board of Community Colleges. The GED diploma enables students to pursue certificate, diploma, and degree programs. Graduates are encouraged to participate in commencement. For more details on the GED Program, call Tamba Thompson at (252) 536-7235, Therman Taylor at (252) 536-6362 or Tiffany Hale at (252) 536-6342.