For some, graduation day has been a long time coming. For others, the timing is off just a bit, but the struggle has been harder and longer than if the students had been able to stay in high school and graduate with their classmates.
Either way, about 80 students expect to walk across the stage June 7 and pick up their diplomas after completing the GED coursework at OCCC, said Program Director Jessica Martinez-Brooks.
Martinez-Brooks said the average age of the students is about 32 and they have had to overcome all types of hurdles to pursue their GED, the equivalent of a high school diploma.
“There have been child care issues, immigration issues, transportation issues, learning disabilities,” she said. “Sometimes the students are court mandated to be here.”
OCCC’s Family and Community Education Center is devoted to helping those who have fallen behind educationally get back on track and take the lead, Martinez-Brooks said.
Kyla Cox received her GED in January at the age of 17.
Cox, the winner of one of two college scholarships given to GED graduates for their continued journey at OCCC, said she plans to get her associate degree at OCCC before transferring to the University of Oklahoma to pursue a degree in geology.
Cox also was a big influence in the decision of her stepmother, Rachel Molet, to go through the GED program at the FACE Center. Molet completed her program in the second week of March and is awaiting scores. She is expected to walk across the stage in the upcoming June graduation.
Cox said she and her step-mom would do their homework in front of her stepsister, Brittany Curry, in hopes of passing on the contagious inspiration to get a GED. Their strategy must have worked because Curry will now be taking the GED test in April.
If she passes, she will get to walk in June with her mom. Another scholarship recipient, Madison Daniels said she passed her GED test in October and plans on attending OCCC in the fall. She will be getting her degree in Media Design and is looking forward to the way OCCC will be able to refine her skills.
After she gets her certificate, Daniels plans to team up with the branch of her Jehovah’s Witness Church in New York City to do animations for children’s movies. She currently attends the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Watchtower and Bible Tract Society branch in Oklahoma City, whose headquarters are in New York. Combining her connections in the church with her degree from OCCC, Daniels believes she will be set up for success.
With 3,200 students enrolled at FACE last academic year, it is the largest adult education center serving Oklahoma City, Martinez-Brooks said. It is also the largest GED testing center.
The FACE Center opened its doors in 2008 after OCCC received a $600,000 grant to operate an adult learning center, Martinez-Brooks said. Its purpose is to “…provide adult basic education services such as helping students to learn the English language and civics, preparing students for the GED test and ensuring students have reading and writing skills that would assist them in transitioning to higher education.”
The staff at the FACE Center realize adult students have many responsibilities and usually little time, Martinez-Brooks said. Therefore they offer convenient class times at 20 different locations around the city, as well as Saturday and online classes.
Many of the classes are taught at the center, 6500 S Land Ave., Oklahoma City, Okla., 73159, about one mile north of the main campus. The GED class is taught not only in English but also in Spanish.
Their largest program is the English as a Second Language program which almost always has a waiting list for students to be admitted, Martinez-Brooks said.
For more information contact the Director of Community Outreach & Education, Jessica Martinez-Brooks, at 405-682-1611, ext. 7426.