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Free courses available to earn high school equivalency degree
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Educator James Kelley goes over material with Trene Swoveland during class Thursday night. Swoveland says she wants to earn her high school equivalency degree to pursue a career in the medical field.

Tina Serna wants to pursue a career with the Sheriff’s Department, but she can’t do it without a high school degree.
So she’s taking free classes twice a week at the First United Methodist Church Outreach Building in hopes of achieving her career goals.
“I want to be a jailer,” said Serna. “When I applied, he told me to get my GED and come back. Being a jailer is something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s exciting. After six months on the job, they’ll start training you to go on the road.”
The high school equivalency diploma classes are offered through the state on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Morning classes are from 9 a.m. to noon, with evening classes from 5 to 8 p.m.
Students are given an initial appraisal test and are then assigned material which corresponds to their academic level. Some students who test at a very high level won’t have far to go, while there are others who will have to make more of a long-term commitment.
“We’ve had some students who have gotten through in as little as two or three weeks and others where it takes two or three years,” said James Kelley, one of the instructors.
The courses in McMinnville are designed to give students the knowledge they need to pass the high school equivalency test in five subjects – reading, writing, math, social studies and science.
“One of the great things about this is the classes are free and then we give you a voucher to take the test so the test is free too,” said Kelley. “This is done by the state so people can get better jobs and get off social programs. It’s viewed as a way to save money in the long run.”
For more information, call (931) 304-3188.