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Miami County offers adult HSE program

MATH MAGICIAN:Miami County Adult Education Center Director Susan Shannon runs through some math problems with her students during Thursday mornings class.

BY Paige Conley - pconley@perutribune.com

After two decades, the Miami County Adult Education Program is continuing to encourage residents to further their education and obtain their High School Equivalency credentials.

The education program is for adults 16 years of age or older who want to improve their basic academic skills, have more job opportunities and a chance at making a better standard of living for themselves, and their families and for those who wish to prepare and earn their HSE, according to the MCAEC brochure.

According to MCAEC Program Director Susan Shannon, there are over 20 students attending classes at the moment and all of them are working to obtain their education for different reasons.

“Some of them come because they want to set an example for their own children,” Shannon said. “Some of them want a better job.”

No matter the student’s reason for being there, all of them eventually reach their goal and move on to something better whether that be a new job or higher education.

“We’ve had students go on to Purdue for Engineering,” Shannon said. “A student this past year has been accepted at Purdue. She’s going into nursing and she wants to become a nurse practitioner.”

Unlike adult education programs in larger cities, Miami County is a one classroom learning environment in which all of the students enrolled learn Math, English, reading and so forth in the same work space.

Since all of the students who attend are at different learning levels, much of the classroom work is done together so everyone has a chance to understand what is being taught.

Likewise, it takes some students longer than others to complete the course, depending on how many classes and the freqeuncy in which they attend, if they do the homework and what they have going on in their life, according to Shannon.

“A lot of them have incredible hurdles they have to overcome,” Shannon said.

In order to make things easier on students who lead busy lives, the program not only allows students to attend classes at their convenience, but they offer free childcare and bus services from the YMCA.

The classes are also free and are offered from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Tuesdays through Thursdays and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Since their opening, the program has had to scale back on their hours due to major funding cuts.

“We’re under the umbrella of Lafayette, region four, and our entire region took a 43 percent cut,” Shannon said. “So for our entire program here we have only $31,000.”

The shortage in funds has not only cut hours to where afternoon classes can’t be offered, but it’s cut teacher’s pay and has made it to where many of the staff volunteer their time.

“We’ve all taken cuts, but we all love what we’re doing,” Shannon said. “This is a place of second chances.”

According to Shannon, the program is applying for grants from places like the Community Foundation and other groups around town in hopes they’ll have enough funds to really kickstart the program once again.

They even hope to one day move their program into the Miami County Jail for individuals in the facility who wish to earn their HSE.

The MCAEC is a place of hope for residents who want to better themselves and their lives. The program was designed for individuals to succeed and work around student’s schedules.

“We give students what they cannot get anywhere else,” Shannon said. “We offer what people need to improve their lives for the rest of their life and by improving a parent’s education we can help improve a child’s education.”

A student may need multiple attempts to complete the program, but they’re always welcomed to keep trying, no matter how long it takes them.

“They all come in with a dream,” Shannon said.

When individuals come in for classes, they are asked to take a preliminary test so the teachers know where to start them in their lessons. Although the course which runs from January 1 through June 31, students can take a practice diploma test.

The only aspect of the program that costs money is the HSE test which costs $90 to take, but if eligible students may be able to receive funding assistance through Peru Work One.

“We’re a place of hope and we like to give that education to students so they can have a better life and get that High School diploma,” Shannon said.

Individuals who wish to know more can visit the Miami County Adult Education Center at 19 Park Drive or call 765-475-2423.