Adult Education student succeeds during COVID-19 and a new baby

The Adult Education Program at the Literacy Council of Alaska helps around 200 students a...
The Adult Education Program at the Literacy Council of Alaska helps around 200 students a year. (Alex Bengel/KTVF)(KTVF)
Published: May. 19, 2020 at 4:58 PM AKDT
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Despite delays from the COVID-19 pandemic, 29-year-old Angelina Porden has earned her General Education Development (GED) from the Adult Education Program (AEP) of the Literacy Council of Alaska. During the process, she also gave birth to a son.

Porden said having a baby on the way helped motivate her in her studies. “If I am not at my best, and I am not at my top of my game, then my son doesn’t have what he needs.”

Porden’s son Lucian was born on the 18th of March, the day she was scheduled to take her final test. The test was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which Porden sees as a blessing in disguise, as she would have had to postpone anyway.

The pandemic did, however, take a toll on her ability to take the test after giving birth. “Most definitely it slowed things down. I had to get a lot of patience and wait, because I was extremely motivated, but it definitely didn’t stop me. I was just going to sit there and wait. One way or another I was going to graduate,” she said.

Brian Davis, GED Program Coordinator and Lead Instructor with the Literacy Council in Fairbanks, works with students in the Adult Education Program, some aiming to receive their GED, others just hoping to gain literacy skills.

According to Davis, when tests resumed, Porden was one of the first through the door. He said, “As soon as they gave me the green light to say ‘Hey, we can schedule some students with the necessary precautions”, she scheduled as soon as she could, went in, and passed with flying colors.”

Porden appreciates the flexibility of the learning schedule the AEP provides. “People who are trying to get their GED already have a lot of things going on in their life, and so it’s sometimes hard for them to settle down back into a class-like setting like they did when they were in school,” she said.

Porden plans to earn a degree as a Veterinary Technician through an apprenticeship program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

According to Davis, around 200 students use the AEP over the course of a year, with around 80 graduating. There are four tests that need to be taken in order to receive a GED: English, Science, Social Studies and Math.

To anyone looking to take an Adult Education Course or pursue their GED, Porden says, “As long as you believe in yourself, as long as you stick to your guns and you do get it done, and even if you have to do it multiple times, just know that the feeling that you get after that success... it's euphoric.”

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