Wednesday night, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (M.G.C.C.C.) graduated a fresh class from its G.E.D. program. The ceremony was held at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center. Joy Miller says getting a G.E.D. has been a dream of hers for over 13 years. Miller is a happy mother and a manager of a local retail store, but she wanted more from life.
Miller says, “For one, because it’s of the upmost importance, and because I have a 13 year old daughter who I have to show you can't do anything without an education.” About 150 students participated in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College G.E.D. graduation ceremony. Since July of 2013, the community college has graduated more than 630 participants from its G.E.D. program. Becky Layton, Director of Adult Basic Education at M.G.C.C.C., says, “That is the doorway to go into new jobs, further your education, and making a difference in your whole family and lifestyle.”
This is the first graduation since the new G.E.D. test has been implemented. The new G.E.D. test was implemented at the beginning of this year. Now, it’s completely computerized, the standards are higher, and the cost to take it has nearly doubled. All of that has had an effect on the community college's graduation rate. Layton also says, “About the same participating. Overall, it’s going to be less graduates for this year, but we're making that change with the computer based tests, but we'll work through it and make the change.”
The higher standards are meant to keep G.E.D. graduates competitive in a changing job market. For Lawrence Corley, another graduate, the changes are worth it. Corley closes, “More real life than just filling out the old bubble test. You run the gambit of reading, science, and math.” The Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College is the largest producer of G.E.D. graduates for the state.