The instructors and administrators of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Adult Basic Education program won two significant awards at the Mississippi Adult Education South Regional Conference held in Natchez, Miss., June 21-22.
The Gulf Coast group won both the Spirit Award and the Friends of Education award given at the statewide conference held by the Mississippi Association of Adult and Community Educators (MAACE).
Cathy Nevels, a master trainer for the ABE/GED program at Gulf Coast, said the awards were given to the group because of their work re-establishing the program after Hurricane Katrina.
"These awards are significant because they recognize the resilience of our teachers in the face of adversity," she said. "Many of our teachers worried about their students before they had taken care of their own needs. Our classes were back in place very quickly because of our teachers and administrators."
Nevels said the awards were also given to the group because of their cooperation with other groups along the Coast.
"The Friends of Education award specifically was given to Gulf Coast as a co-recipient along with Pascagoula Learning Center and the Gulfport School System as recognition of their joint efforts in getting programs up and running after Katrina.
"Thanks to college president Dr. (Willis) Lott, Gulf Coast has been sharing the college's space with the Gulfport School System's GED program," Nevels added.
"After the storm, Gulfport's program was completely washed out. Dr. Lott offered to share space with that program, and they have been using classroom space at the Jefferson Davis Campus. Were it not for his generosity, the program would have been left without a place to hold class."
Lott said he was pleased with the awards received by the Adult Basic Education program at Gulf Coast.
"This award acknowledges the services that Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College offers to our community - education in convenient locations, instructors of the highest quality and opportunities that make a tremendous difference in the lives of our students."
He added, "At Gulf Coast we work as a family. This award signifies that the state recognizes the positive difference the college makes in the communities we serve."
Gulf Coast's Adult Basic Education program offers classes for adults who do not have a high-school diploma and to those needing to learn English as a second language (ESL).
Most classes are held at one of the college's sites in George, Harrison, Jackson and Stone counties. A few classes are held at off-campus sites. Both day and night classes are offered, and there is no charge for these courses.
Additionally, Gulf Coast offers an incentive to individuals completing their GED by offering two scholarships. Students passing the GED may be eligible for one free class at the college. Any student earning a GED score of at least 577 may be eligible for a half-time scholarship.
For details on earning a GED, improving basic skills, class schedules or scholarships, call your local campus or center at the following numbers: