Bishop proves it’s not too late to get a GED

Published 6:00 am Sunday, November 13, 2016

Recently, the Lafayette County Literary Council and its ABLE (Adult Basic Literacy Education) Program reached an important milestone.

Norma Bishop, 51, became the first participant in the program to obtain her GED after joining ABLE in June.

“My stepson and his wife went to take their GED last year and they tried to get me to come, but I said, ‘no’,” Bishop said. “And when I went to the graduation, there was a 70-year-old woman walking, so I said to myself, if she can do it, I can do it.”

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Her teacher and coach, Barbara Wortham, the program coordinator for ABLE, says that when she first spoke with Bishop, she immediately knew she was a “very intelligent” woman.

“Her initial assessments showed that she was reading on a high school graduate level, so I know it would not take her long to complete her GED,” Wortham said in an email. “She didn’t get discouraged or give up. I am extremely proud of her.”

The ABLE Program started under the LCLC two years ago, but last year they included GED preparation as one of their services. They also help participants in earning their driver’s licenses, finding job prospects and participating in community activities.

Bishop says the hardest part of earning her degree was the math section on the test, particularly algebra and geometry.

“I was ready to give up, but Barbara said, ‘you got this’,” Bishop remembers, “and my husband was encouraging and so was my son who’s in the Navy. So I had a lot of support. I went back and I passed it. Barbara is a sweetheart; she’s the best teacher. She keeps everyone motivated.”

Wortham has been in education for 20 years, but says this was her first time working in adult education.

“The wonderful thing about the ABLE Program is that I am able to train other coaches who pass their knowledge on to the learners,” Wortham said. “We are able to reach more learners by using our one-on-one coaching strategies. Being a part of ABLE has been very rewarding for me.”