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Never Too Late to Become a GED Tutor

Betty Hastens

When Betty Hastens decided she wanted her high school diploma, she was already 85 years old. According to Paul Parker, Director of Washington-Holmes Technical Center, Betty's daughter tried to talk her out of it, but she was determined. In only one year, she reached her goal and passed her General Educational Development (GED) exam.

Betty Hastens enrolled in the Adult Education program at the age of 85 in August 1999, at Washington-Holmes Technical Center in Chipley, Florida. Betty was more than 20 years older than any of the teachers or students, but age was never an issue with her. Mr. Parker related that she was eager to learn and was a perfectionist in everything she did. In April 2000, she was recognized as Student of the Year for Adult Education at the Annual Open House Awards Ceremony at the Technical Center. She took her GED exam along with many of her new friends in the Adult Education class in September 2000, at the age of 86. Betty did not slow down. The very afternoon she completed her GED test, she returned to class to continue working. The next day she started volunteering in the Adult Education program by helping anyone and everyone who needed help.

Betty has been volunteering three to four days a week in the Adult Education class since she took her GED exam. She is in the parking lot before most of the staff each morning with a smile on her face and eager to go to work. She works with students of all ages, races, backgrounds, and academic skills. According to Mr. Parker, she needs no supervision or direction. She seeks out students who need help and keeps detailed notes on each student she works with, monitoring their progress. She reports to the teachers if she thinks there are other materials that would help the student or if she has any special concerns dealing with their success in the program. She never slows down. Betty is up and moving, going from one student to another all day. She has volunteered over 500 hours in the program this year and is involved with everything from participating in the Student Government Association to packing boxes to move out of the 6000-square-foot Learning Resource Center for new carpet. She even took her own car and collected boxes from all over town to pack the library books. If there is a job to be done, Betty is willing and able, and the job will be done.

Betty attended Laubach Tutor training and is now a certified Laubach Tutor. She immediately started using her newly acquired skills with some non-readers in the Adult Education program. She has become actively involved with the Literacy Volunteers of Washington County and was recently recognized at their end-of-the-year banquet as a newly certified tutor. Betty was credited with recruiting the majority of the students who attended the banquet. Mr. Parker said that her involvement with both Adult Education and the Literacy Volunteers is a real asset to both programs.

For more information on the Washington-Holmes Technical Center, visit