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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Durango Adult Education Center helps students succeed in school and life

"It’s hard to make a good living without a high school diploma, not to mention higher education or training in a trade. But how do you go back to school if you’re hungry, homeless or have small children and no child care?" according to Ann Butler, Herald staff writer.

GED students surround Durango Adult Education Center instructor Mary Mullen, right, as she conducts a science lab experiment. The center will hold a graduation ceremony Wednesday for the eight students who passed their GED tests this fall. 
Photo: The Durango Herald

“We asked, ‘What else can we do to support learners?’” said Teresa Malone, executive director of the Durango Adult Education Center. “There are additional barriers adult learners come with, and they’ve come so far and are working so hard toward self-sufficiency, we needed to help with those situations.”

This year, thanks to a gift from a new resident in Durango, the center has been able to create a support program for its students called Building Opportunity and Occupations for Self-Sufficient Transitions.

“It’s because sometimes people need a boost to get ahead,” said BOOST coordinator Claire Sheridan, who came to the center from La Plata Youth Services. “These are all people with potential, smart, ready to succeed, so full of energy.”

Many students are housing insecure, Malone said, with one garbage bag holding their belongings. One student exchanged baby-sitting services to sleep on a couch in a mobile home, others have needed assistance with transitional housing. Some have been helped with rent to stay in their housing as Sheridan works with organizations such as Housing Solutions of the Southwest to resolve problems.

Because one young man’s mother couldn’t take time off work, Sheridan got his Medicaid straightened out and took him to the eye doctor for glasses so he could see the blackboard. The center provides lunch and snacks so students have adequate nutrition to learn, child care, budgeting help, as well as résumé, goal-setting and job-hunting support.  
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Further information
The Durango Adult Education Center will hold its December 2015 graduation at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Durango Public Library, 1900 East Third Ave. The graduation speaker will be Luke Perkins, a 2005 DAEC graduate who is now a senior at Fort Lewis College majoring in history and editor-in-chief of the Independent.
To learn more about the high school equivalency tests:

Sample questions on a free GED practice test are available at
Visit to learn more about the Test Assessing Secondary Completion.
Visit to learn more about the High School Equivalency Test.

Source: The Durango Herald