TIFTON -- Moultrie Technical College's Adult Literacy Program honored 213 students at a ceremony Thursday on the Tiftarea Campus.

Lead instructor Liz Carson Keith said 343 students are currently enrolled in the program. She said that all those honored have completed either a level of the requirements or all the requirements to achieve the General Education Development diploma.

"All of them are on their way," Keith said. "All of these are Tifton folks and they come from all of our different centers."

Classes to prepare students for successful completion of the GED are taught at the Tiftarea Campus of Moultrie Technical College, at the Workforce Center on South Main Street, at the Tiftarea Adult Education Center on Chesnutt, at the Tift County Jail and through ABAC's High School Equivalency Program.

Keith said the number of students enrolling in the program has increased steadily since 2000.

"Employers are emphasizing that more and more and in order for people to take advantage of the technical college education and the other things they are seeing will advance them in the workplace, they are realizing that they have to have a high school diploma or a GED to get there," Keith said.

According to Keith, 20 percent of the students are teenagers who are fairly recent high school drop outs, 16 to 18 years old, and the rest are older.

"The oldest student to be recognized was 68 and she only has one more part on her GED to finish," Keith said. "We span a big, big age group."

Orientation sessions are offered for people interested in studying for and taking the GED exam. Keith said staff can direct those interested to an instruction center that can meet their needs. GED classes are also now offered online free of charge.

A GED graduation ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. on July 22. Keith said that anyone who is eligible to participate but did not get a letter should give contact Carolyn Curles at 217-4181.

For more information on the program, call Keith at 391-2615.

To contact city editor Angie Thompson, call 382-4321.

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