According to the California Department of Education, one in four high school students dropped out of school in 2010. Many reasons given for their choice, but of those who decided to quit school, less than one-half percent went on to obtain their General Education Degree (GED), by taking a GED preparation class and then taking the five-part exam and passing.
In November 2010, retired educator, Al Steuart of Wofford Heights, started a GED prep- program. Initially, Nancy Puckett, Director of the Family Recourse Center in Lake Isabella offered a room and some resource materials for the class. Together with a volunteer staff, Steuart gathered enough students to fill the small room at the FRC. Eventually, through the efforts of JoAnne Johnson, a classroom was offered at the Kern River Valley Campus of Cerro Coso College, where students meet Wednesdays from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Since utilizing Room 6 at the college, Steuart has recruited the help of four volunteers to work with the 39 registered students. Currently, of the 39 registered, 5 are consistent in their attendance of the prep class, according to to Steuart.
The first ‘graduate’ of the GED test preparation class held at Cerro Coso earned his GED by taking the test at the Bakersfield Adult School. Sam Casey is now pursuing his goal of entering a program in which he will prepare for a career in the criminal justice field. Casey’s wife, Michelle, is now working on getting her GED as well.
Earning a GED cannot only improve a person's job prospects, but it will allow them to pursue a higher education, and be more valuable to potential employers. Each person who passes the five-part GED test receives a California High School Equivalency Certificate, which is just as valid as High School Diploma.
Anyone interested in help in preparing to take the GED tests has only to show up on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. in Room 6 at Cerro Coso and see Steuart. The class is free and the materials needed to put the students on their way to brighter futures, including the text book, are provided at no charge. If you have any questions you can contact Al Steuart at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (760) 376-1546. According to Steuart, this includes those other 34 people who have registered for the class and for one reason or another have not been able to make the class on a regular basis.