HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Jamie Robertson may be the biggest campus advocate for Wallace State’s Adult Education program.
Robertson, 39, is Wallace State’s Adult Education administrative assistant – a position she takes a lot of pride in because she is a graduate of the program.
“First and foremost, Wallace State’s Adult Education program provided me with a chance to right a huge wrong in my life. For me, not graduating high school was a huge disappointment, and the program gave me the opportunity to correct that,” said Robertson, who began working at Wallace State a year and a half ago. “The Wallace State Adult Education program is such a positive and important part of my past and my future.”
Robertson grew up in Cullman and attended Holly Pond High School. As a 17-year-old, Robertson dropped out of high school, needing to work to make ends meet. She had intentions of taking her GED (General Education Development) test immediately after leaving Holly Pond, but put it on the backburner because of working a full-time job. She did, however, take GED classes sporadically over the next few years.
In 2001, Robertson was 24 and a married mother of three children, including one stepchild. She decided it was time to get serious about completing the GED test.
“It knew at the time it was now or never. I took a few classes, just to freshen up, and then took my GED test. I didn’t think I was ready or that I would pass, but I did,” Robertson said. “I never hesitated to enroll in the program, but I always felt embarrassed or maybe even ashamed of my decision to drop out of school.”
This National Coalition on Literacy has declared this week (Sept. 26-Oct. 1) as National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. It’s set aside each year to raise awareness about local adult education resources that are available in communities nationwide.
According to the National Coalition on Literacy, there are approximately 36 million adults who have low literacy skills. Nearly 30 percent of adults with household incomes at or below the poverty level do not have high school credentials. On the other hand, individuals with high school credentials earn about $10,000 more than annually than those without a degree.
Whether one is struggling with literacy problems or another area, Robertson believes enrolling in the Adult Education program is one of the best initial steps they can take.
“I think fear of failing, judgment and embarrassment hinders a lot of our students from enrolling in our program. I see it every day and I was there. However, the feeling of accomplishment that you get when you reach your goal instantly replaces all of those doubts and fears. The completion of the Adult Education program is a huge accomplishment and all students deserve the praise and acknowledgement for their hard work,” Robertson said. “If someone is on the fence about enrolling, they can come talk to me. I have a good understanding of the many struggles that are associated with this journey.”
As she is employed by the college, Robertson is also pursuing an associate’s degree at Wallace State. Once she completes the degree, she plans to transfer to Athens State to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Through Wallace State’s Future Foundation, Robertson earned the Cullman Rotary Club and Sonya Hembree Memorial scholarships for this academic year.
In June, Robertson received the most outstanding Staff Person of the Year at the 2016 Alabama Adult Education Awards Luncheon. The award recognizes individuals for their hard work and personal growth from being a previous GED graduate to now working in the program and attending college.
“I’m very grateful for the scholarships I’ve received. I’m enrolled in college because of them,” Robertson said. “All-in-all, I want to be a positive example and show that anyone can overcome anything, even when they feel they have fallen behind in the beginning or they don’t have the same opportunities that others have.”
For more information about the Wallace State Adult Education program, contact Robertson at 256.352.8078 or John Glasscock at 256.352.8077. To learn more about the National Coalition on Literacy, visit http://national-coalition-literacy.org/
For more information about Wallace State, visit www.wallacestate.edu.
Wallace State Community College
P.O. Box 2000, Hanceville, AL 35077
1-866-350-9722 256-352-8443 direct
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Wallace State Community College
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Office: 256.352.8118 | Cell: 256.339.2519 | Toll Free: 866.350.9722