Happy Birthday, Mr  Smith

Once a month, the Martha O’Bryan Adult Education Learning Lab celebrates birthdays. For the month of May, they also celebrated one of Adult Ed’s greatest success stories. Thanks to his talent and willingness to tell everyone hello, he’s also someone who has become a bit of a local celebrity.

Mr. Smith, who has been coming to the Adult Education Lab since before 2016, turned 77 at the end of May. Upon entering, he wanted to be at a higher reading level. Today, we are proud to say he is now one of the strongest readers in the class!

Mr. Smith is also an artist. We were grateful to have him show us some of his work at the party. This summer, he was accepted to be a featured artist with Daybreak Arts along with fellow Adult Ed student Liz Otero-Vidal. We offer our congratulations and wish both of them all the best in their artistic pursuits!

Adult Education Learning Lab regular, Bo, provided plenty of testimony to the power of learning, and has personally tested well in geometry and trigonometry.

Bo Knows Trig: A Student Testimonial

Adult Education Learning Lab student, Bo, is always the first one to arrive to class. In fact, he often arrives before his teachers.

Bo used to attend Hillsboro High School before taking courses at the Adult Ed lab. He left because he thought the classes were too large and he couldn’t get the help he needed. He says, “I like smaller classes where you can get lots of one-on-one time.” Bo insists Adult Ed staffers Emrie, Doug and Ashley are the best, “If I have a problem I can count on them to help me.”

As a result of the Adult Ed staff’s special tutelage, Bo is testing much higher in math courses. He’s especially testing high in Geometry and now also Trigonometry. In fact, he finished learning Trig in two weeks!

Upon graduation, Bo wants to go to school to become a nurse. He’s also a singer/songwriter. When asked what the key to success is, he quickly responds, “To be committed.”

Emrie and fellow staffers will attest to Bo’s personal level of commitment. After class ends each day, he’s also the last one to leave.

Adult Education Director, Emrie Smith, helps a student with a math problem.

What Makes the Adult Education Class So Special?

Adult Education Director, Emrie Smith, says she has learned so much from the Adult Ed students, and insists the people make coming in to work every day worthwhile. In addition to all of her students, this also includes her colleagues, Doug Stewart, a full time teacher through Workforce Essentials, and Ashley Jones, a teacher through AmeriCorps who finishes in a few weeks.

She goes on to say, “The students’ perseverance is inspiring. They are told ‘no’ every day but they still come in to learn and better themselves, and they’ve made tremendous progress.”

That progress is more than measurable—throughout the last grant year they recorded 1900 hours of student learning!

The lab currently has 75 active students attending both online and in person each business day, 9am -12pm, Monday–Friday. For obvious reasons, remote learning became very popular during the pandemic, and now several students work remotely—lots more than who you see in class.

As a consequence of online popularity, a digital literacy curriculum will be implemented upon hiring new staff. This two-prong approach is certainly successful. In fact, three students are set to graduate from the GED program by the end of June.