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First United Methodist wins award
First United Receives Burks Award 1.jpg
Pastor John Purdue, right, receives the Burks Award on behalf of First United Methodist Church from Upper Cumberland Adult Education Program staff members, from left, Jennifer Anderson, Carol Pritchard, and Bob Bonner on Thursday morning in First United’s chapel. The award recognizes people and organizations who excel in helping others. - photo by Chris Simones

The Upper Cumberland Adult Education program presented The Burks Award to First United Methodist Church on Thursday morning in the church’s chapel. Senior pastor Dr. John Purdue accepted the award on behalf of the church.

“We’re super pleased and super excited to receive this award,” said Purdue.

Said adult education teacher Bob Bonner at the presentation ceremony, “The spirit of helpfulness and concern for others comes through in a tangible way from First United of McMinnville, which has provided free space, utilities, and internet for over four years in Warren County to Upper Cumberland Adult Education classes and offices.”

First United allows the adult education program to use its Church Outreach Building for classes and office space. The outreach building is located in the former H.G. Hill store on West Main Street.

“First United has really been good to not just us, but the students as well,” said lead teacher Jennifer Anderson. “In addition to everything else, they’ve put together the most thoughtful care packages for the students.”

“If First United didn’t donate the space we wouldn’t be able to operate, really,” said Carol Pritchard, parapro of the program for Warren, Cannon, and DeKalb counties. “We’re on a limited budget. Due to First United’s generosity, we can use our grant money for instructional materials and offer the program to the students free of charge.”

The Upper Cumberland Adult Education program has served over 450 adults in the outreach building and has assisted 167 adults in graduating with a high school equivalency diploma in the last four years.

“If a student enrolled in our program completes at least 12 hours and has a qualifying score on the practice test the state will pay for the HiSET exam,” said Pritchard.

HiSET stands for High School Equivalency Test and is comparable to the GED. Tennessee’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development decided the HiSET exam is the sole option for adults who want to earn a High School Equivalency Diploma in Tennessee.

The adult education program offers morning and evening classes in the outreach building on Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. until noon and 5 to 8 p.m. The program has classes in math, science, social studies, grammar, and reading.

It’s a year-round program and new students can be accepted weekly.

“If a student called me today I could probably schedule an appointment for them this week and get them in the program right away,” said Pritchard.

The Upper Cumberland Adult Education phone number is (931) 304-3188.

The Burks Award is given in honor of former state senator Tommy Burks to a community member who shows concern and willingness to help others through participation in the local community.

“Promoting education and helping families is at the heart of our mission,” said Purdue while accepting the award.