Free help available for those who ask

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – On certain occasions, it can get loud at Itawamba Community College’s Belden Center campus.
“If you hear someone shout in the halls, that’s someone about to move up a level,” said Georgia Shocklee, adult basic education and GED instructor. “We hug and celebrate.”
She said students who take literacy and GED classes at Belden Center are usually focused on their work.
“For the most part, my students are willing and eager to learn,” she said. “That’s the thing about adults. They’re eager, and we don’t have discipline problems.”
The classes are free at Belden Center. That includes the cost of workbooks, pencils and other supplies. All the students have to provide is transportation, time and effort.
Belden Center is a comfortable, modern building with plenty of room for students to spread out. But the ABE classes have a direct connection to old-fashioned schoolhouses, where students of all ability levels studied together, while working at their own pace.
“When a person comes in and wants to enroll, the first thing we do is an assessment of them to see where they are functioning,” Shocklee said.
For many, the goal is a GED, but they don’t have to stop there, said Deanna Duckworth, who teaches ABE classes.
“It’s not just about jobs. Some of them want to go on to more school,” she said. “Anyone who gets their GED at ICC can take their first class at ICC with no tuition, so their first class is free if they get their GED through ICC. We want them to try it and see how they do.”
ABE and GED classes are offered during the day and at night. For more information about Belden Center programs, call (662) 407-1510.
Or call (888) 4-ABEGED for a list of other adult literacy programs in Mississippi.
scott.morris@journalinc.com