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Dothan, AL - Twenty-four years ago, Melissa Poole dropped out of high school to take care of her kids.
“I worked min wage jobs. Then I was laid off from the nuclear plant.”
Now she’s getting serious about her career. Poole is back in the classroom preparing to take the GED, and she hopes to finish it by the end of the year.
That’s when the current test will be replaced. Educators say it will be computer based and much harder.
“Everybody that completed portions of the GED. They are so close. Their future is calling. With that they’d have a better chance of getting a job, enrolling in college. Otherwise after December 2013 they'll have to start over with the new test. So that's an incentive,” said Wallace Community College Director of Adult Education Linda Watson.
Also, it will be more expensive. Right now the test is only $50, but next year it will cost you $120.
If the thought of taking a test is intimidating, Wallace Community College leaders are willing to help. The adult education program offers a self-paced guide to prepare for the GED.
“This is just a great program. It's free. It's free. How can you refuse free. You get nothing for free anymore in this world,” said Poole.
“It gives people that work or people with family responsibilities to have a chance to come whether its day or night. Two days a week or four days a week,” said Watson.
Poole is hoping to be ready for the test by April, and her kids couldn’t be prouder.
“They are awesome about it. They love it. Mom's going to have her high school diploma,” she said.
She could be in college classes this fall.
Once students complete their GED, they are eligible for one free course at any two year college in Alabama.