Of the funds raised, President Sharon Southerland said, approximately $7,000 will go toward the program itself and cover the cost of an instructor. Participation in the auction was up over the previous year, she added, and Advance Adairsville met its fundraising goal.
Another achievement announced during the auction was the first year’s 100 percent graduation rate. The 37 students in the 2013 GED class all succeeded in getting their diploma.
“It came about through a lot of really — the students worked very hard and the instructors worked very hard to make sure that they were prepared to take the test, and so that’s exactly how it works,” Southerland said. “You’ll have students that think they’re ready and they’re just maybe not quite ready. ... All of the testing is paid for by our program. ... The instructors are really very dedicated in making sure that the students are really prepared.”
Southerland said Advance Adairsville was “very happy” with the program’s graduation rate for the first year. She continued, saying the 2014 class has 28 students and there are at least 28 more on the waiting list. Throughout this year, she said, Advance Adairsville will begin to encourage other corporate sponsors for its program in addition to Yanmar, the initial corporate investor.
“The thing that we’re going to be working on this next year is we’re going to be looking for community corporate sponsorships. That’s what we need to do. We very much want to expand the program and add a daytime class if we possibly can because we do have students who aren’t able to come in the evenings because they may have part-time jobs, they may have children that they have to be home with in the evening, so we would like to work on a daytime class,” she said.
Gary Floyd, an Advance Adairsville board member, said he was pleased with both the increased attendance at the auction and the first group of graduated students.
“I would think it’s a huge success because we didn’t know how many folks would participate. But to have that many come through and to have that many on a waiting list — and there’s some other GED programs, but this is unique in that it costs the students zero. All they had to do is want to do it, and they can,” he said. “... Some of our students are there because it’s court-ordered. Some of our students are 18 years old. Some of our students are 50 years old.”
Among the roughly 10 items auctioned off were gift cards to Barnsley Gardens and a pecan delight dessert Southerland said she made herself. Though she believed Advance Adairsville would attempt to limit its fundraising to the one event a year, Southerland hoped to host an appreciation event for the organization’s growing number of sponsors.
“We certainly want to have a community appreciation affair. We want to have that, and won’t use it necessarily as a fundraiser, but we want to have an event this summer that’s just a community appreciation event. ... It’s something that Advance Adairville will do for the members of the community who support the program,” she said.
Those interested in becoming involved with Advance Adairsville, or serving as a sponsor, are asked to call Southerland at 678-986-0781.