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Adults can still earn HS diploma

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By KATE THURSTON - kthurston@newsexaminer.com

Sometimes people get so busy that they lose sight of important tasks. For some, their high school diploma becomes less important.

That’s what happened to Zach Driver. A 22-year old from Connersville, Driver used the High School Equivalancy program to help get his life back on track.

When he decided he needed to complete a high school diploma, it took him all of six weeks. He earned an HSE degree, formerly called the GED.

Driver’s father passed away when Zach was in middle school. His mother relocated the family to Lakeland, Florida, where she had relatives. Driver did not like Florida but continued in high school and got involved in sports. When he got a sports-ending injury in wrestling his sophomore year, he lost interest in school. His grades went from A’s and B’s to failing.

He then decided to save his money to come back to Indiana to stay with friends. By the time he saved enough money to move, it was second semester of his senior year and his new school wouldn’t enroll him. Driver then got a job in a factory, met his wife and started a family.

When Zach decided to get a diploma, earned his HSE in about six weeks.

Amy Engle, who taught 34 years before retiring, is in charge of the local HSE program as the Adult Basic Education Coordinator for the Whitewater Adult Education Program. Her assistant, Kris Gilley, administers the High School Equivalency test. 

In the past year, the program has moved, allowing more resources for students. The Economic Development Group of Fayette County, which owns the building, allows them to use this location free of charge. 

“Last year, Ivy Tech allowed us to use two classrooms and a computer lab. Our facilities are there to help the students. We provide a variety of services to those who need help, including Community Corrections and the jail,” she said. 

The team is starting to market in the Whitewater region to keep those up to date who are interested in receiving their HSE.

“I am trying to market the program so that adults 18 and older who need their HSE to get a better job or advance in their current job, will come to our classes for assistance. Once they get their high school diploma, they are guaranteed at least $10,000 more each year in their workforce.”

Driver said that the thing that worked best for him was having a variety of class times to meet the demands of his busy schedule.

“The persistence of my teacher, Kevin Knotts, to get me through the program successfully made getting the HSE possible. My experience at Whitewater Adult Education was a very pleasant one. I couldn’t think of a thing that I would change. WAE offers a relaxed learning environment with motivated teachers.”

To start, a person must come in and take an intake test. Teachers identify their areas of strength and weaknesses and can help from there to help them progress. This test is free.

How long it takes to obtain the diploma is based on the time and dedication of the student.

“The more time adults spend on getting their times in class, will help move along the process. Some have taken the test in less than four weeks and some take a few months.”

When a person is ready to take the HSE test, it costs $90. Scholarships and organizations will help pay for it, if needed, and students can get a $25-off coupon for attendance. 

WAE is located at the Ivy Tech campus, 717 W. 21st St. For information, call 765-825-9394.