Students overcome challenges to earn GED

High school isn’t a perfect fit for everyone the first time around. Nearly one in four students in Idaho in 2011 did not graduate with a regular diploma in four years, according to the Alliance for Excellent Education.

About 450 of these students will get a second chance by passing the General Education Development (GED) test through the North Idaho College ABE/GED program this year. Many of them will walk in the 2012 GED Graduation Ceremony at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 3 in Boswell Hall Schuler Auditorium on NIC’s main campus.

“A lot of these students had some pretty big hurdles to jump over to get where they are,” said Mary Edwards, NIC ABE/GED assessment coordinator. “They have definitely faced some big challenges.”

David Munson, of Coeur d’Alene, said he had a “really, really hard time in high school” and eventually dropped out. He worked in various industries his adult life, but watched as the jobs dried up in every one. He was a construction worker until that industry began hiring less and less, then he sold satellites until the poor economy took that option away as well.

The 36-year-old said his confidence had taken a beating in high school, but he decided to look into NIC’s Idaho Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST), which would allow him to obtain his GED while becoming certified in welding. Through the I-BEST program, he was paired up with a tutor who helped him dust off skills he hadn’t used since high school. He was able to ease back into school at the perfect speed.

“I realized that it wasn’t as hard as I thought,” Munson said.

Now, after one year in the program, Munson has a certificate in welding, will walk with other graduates in the May 3 GED graduation ceremony and has plans to keep taking classes until he earns his associate’s degree, he said, since “I really am enjoying my time at NIC.”

More job opportunities and the prospect of higher-paying jobs in the future are nice, Munson said, but he finds himself looking forward to one thing more than any others as the big day approaches.

“I can’t wait for my mom to see me graduate,” Munson said.

Everyone is invited to the 2012 GED Graduation Ceremony at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 3 in Boswell Hall Schuler Performing Arts Center on NIC’s main campus.

David Munson, 36, of Coeur d’Alene stands in front of North Idaho College’s Welding Program Monday. Munson will receive his GED at the 2012 GED Graduation Ceremony at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 3 in the Schuler Performing Arts Center.

For More Information
NIC ABE/GED Assessment Coordinator Mary Edwards, (208) 665-5097 or  

Posted: Tuesday, May 1, 2012

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