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By Mark Saraficio, Tohono O’odham Community College GED Instructor

It seems not so long ago it was the start of a new school year, with things just beginning to roll. Students were rushing to get last-minute supplies, such as paper and pencils. Counselors’ schedules were loaded with appointments. Students who are also parents were trying to balance out their school schedules with their children’s needs. The beginning of the academic year brought exhaustion, stress, yet excitement for what was to come.

This experience is often relatable to students of all ages and educational levels and is no different for Tohono O’odham Community College’s (TOCC) GED students. Now as the academic term comes to a close, GED students have learned to navigate stressors and issues that have come along the way, and are prepared for what the next term will bring.

The GED program started strong with returning students and new enrollees. As a true teacher says, it is a pleasure to see the faces of students again. GED students took the familiar Locator Test and Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) Survey to determine their current reading and math abilities. For the past couple of years, TOCC had been administering TABE 9-10 to students, an earlier version of the assessment survey. This year, the new TABE 11-12 version of the survey was implemented into the program to increase data sufficiency. But perhaps more inspiring than seeing testing data, is witnessing the individual experiences of students every day.

It has been exciting to see what the year has brought to TOCC’s GED students. As the next term begins, many students will continue their GED lessons and assignments, but their struggles and successes will be unique. Seeing students overcome obstacles and excel is what teachers love to see. Students returning to school to obtain a GED have a unique determination. They are from a range of ages and backgrounds and are working toward their GED with the intent of improving their lives, increasing their opportunities, and simply proving themselves.