Local GED program receives state award

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The City of Seligman received an Award of Merit at the annual Missouri Association of Adult, Continuing and Community Education conference held at Tan-Tar-A last week. Seligman was recognized for its successful adult education and GED program.

"We were thrilled," said Janet Ballard, Seligman Adult Education Program instructor, who accepted the award on behalf of the city on June 23. "It was wonderful. There were people from all over the state coming up to me saying how wonderful it was that little Seligman won this award.

"There were over 200 teachers from across Missouri there to witness us receiving the award," said Ballard. "I was so honored to be able to accept it for Seligman."

The Award of Merit is presented to an agency, business, individual or entity that demonstrates a commitment to adult education practices and promotes adult education within the community.

Seligman's program was among four organizations nominated for the Award of Merit. Seligman was nominated by Chris McRoberts, Crowder College Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) Program director.

Other nominees included the Community Action Agency of St. Louis County, the Salvation Army of Independence and Missouri Corps.

"Chris has told me that he would put the Seligman program up against anyone," said Ballard. "I guess he did."

According to a press release issued by Crowder College, the Seligman program is one of the highest GED producers within the Crowder College AEL Program.

The Seligman program, which was introduced in February of 2008, has helped over 50 individuals earn general education diplomas. In 2009, 18 community members earned their GED through the program, and in 2010, 22 students passed the GED exam. Another dozen students earned GEDs through the program this year.

"When we started the program in Seligman, they (the city) rolled out the red carpet for us, and they have continued to do that," said Ballard. "They really do deserve a pat on the back. It is often hard to find a spot to offer these classes. They went above and beyond to give us space to offer the program.

"When we ran out of room in the library, they built on a classroom for us," said Ballard. "I am very proud of this award and very proud of Seligman's accomplishment. During the conference, I told those who came up to congratulate us that Seligman might be a small area, but they do big things."

Several students who have successfully completed the Seligman Adult Education Program have enrolled in Crowder College classes. Crowder College waives tuition fees for one three-hour credit for each student who earns their GED through the program.

Even though the adult education program offers free instruction, students are required to pay a $40 testing fee to complete the GED exam. Over the last three years, the Seligman Chamber of Commerce, the Seligman Lions Club and other organizations have offered financial assistance to cover exam fees.

Classes are offered at the Seligman Adult Education Center from 4 to 8 p.m. each Monday and Wednesday from August through June. Classes are placed on hold during the summer and Christmas holiday season.

The Seligman adult education program was originally proposed by Seligman's late mayor, Duane Corn.

The Award of Merit will be presented to the Seligman City Council at an upcoming council meeting.

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