Archive for Monday, June 23, 1997


June 23, 1997


Nearly 200 people are graduating through the GED program this week.

Dorothy Mann's quite sure she'll cry Wednesday night.

"I know I will," she said. "It's just a question of whether I can hold it until I can get away from everybody."

Mann hopes that her tears hold off at least until she is handed her General Education Diploma and walks off the stage at Southwest Junior High School.

At age 32, Mann is the first in her family to earn a high school equivalency diploma. She is the youngest of five children.

As one of nearly 200 people who have earned diplomas, Mann said her 6-year-old daughter provided part of the impetus to work toward her GED.

"Some of it was my kid, and she started school and came home and I didn't understand what she was doing," said Mann, a single parent.

Now the two read to one another. And Brandie is her mother's biggest supporter.

"She was really happy," Mann said. "She was really excited about it."

Mann has been surprised at how well she's done.

"I know it raised my self-esteem a lot because I didn't think I could do it," she said. "I picked up on everything. They're really great teachers."

That's the case with a lot of folks, said Linda McGuire, coordinator of adult education. Some people want the degree simply to better themselves. Some want a better job -- or to advance in a job they already have.

"The reasons probably are as varied as the people we have in here," McGuire said.

Ages of students range from 16 to 60.

"I have to hand it to somebody who's at retirement age and is trying to improve themselves," McGuire said.

The length of time it takes to complete a GED varies, depending on where a student is with their education when he or she enters. If a student attends classes regularly, McGuire said, it can be accomplished in three to six months.

"I think the key to success in this program is showing up," she said.

The last time Mann had attended school regularly was many, many years ago. She stopped completely after the ninth grade.

"There was no structure in my family," the California native said. "I was a little rebel kid, but I grew up."

This fall, Mann would like to enroll in one or two courses at Kansas University.

"I never thought of myself as going back to school, or going any further," she said.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.