(Plain Press, March 2014) On February 5th Seeds of Literacy graduates, their families, volunteer tutors and staff of the program gathered for the graduation ceremony of the class of 2013 filling the US Bank building lobby at W. 25th and Clark on a cold and blistery winter night. “The class of 2013 was 102-strong, the largest graduating class for Seeds of Literacy,” said Seeds of Literacy Development Officer Jo Steigerwald.
Seeds of Literacy, which began in 1997 with start up funds from the Congregation of St. Joseph, “offers free one-on-one tutoring in basic education and GED (General Education Development) test preparation to adults,” says Steigerwald. Graduates of the program have passed the GED test and receive a high school diploma.
“We had a large number of graduates because the GED test changed significantly starting January 1, 2014. It is now 100% computerized, based on the Common Core State Standards, and costs 300% more – it grew from $40 to $120. If people passed portions of the old test, their scores would be wiped out after December 31, 2013. Seeds of Literacy spent last year getting the word out about the changes to students and the community, and many people came to us to help get ready for the test – and passed,“ said Steigerwald.
In promoting the GED program, Seeds of Literacy emphasizes the difference getting a GED can make in people’s lives, “Getting your GED can help you reach your dreams. The GED is the first step to a better job, college, training programs, having your own business, and helping your children in school.”
The importance of programs like Seeds of Literacy to economic development, lifting families out of poverty, and improving educational attainment of children are documented with statistics from sources the program cites, such as Assessing Literacy Needs in Cuyahoga County, National Assessment of Adult Literacy, US Census, and the National Institutes of Health:
• 69% of Cleveland residents, age 16 and older, are at Literacy Levels 1 and 2, which means they might have trouble reading a bus schedule, utility bill or medicine bottle.
• People without a high school diploma earn an average of 42% less than those with a diploma.
• People without a high school diploma are twice as likely to live in poverty than those with a high school diploma.
• What determines a child’s success in school? Their mother’s reading skill.
Editor’s Note: For more information, see the listing for Seeds of Literacy under Adult Education in the Community Board in this issue.
Members of the Historic Seeds of Literacy 2013 graduating class: Quinisha Agosto, Tatiana Alicea, Kimberly Armbruster, Lorie Assaad, Eileen Bacuetes, Adam Baker, Henrietta Bell, Rebecca Blondeaux, Douglas Bozman, Latrice Brackins, Linda Calhoun, Shateria Call, Rommell Carrington, Evelynn Castro, Teshawn Cliff, Meagan Colquhoun, JoAnn Corbett, Ricardo Cordero, Makisha Cox, Lueresser Curry, Jason Daniels, Jeanette Davila, Antwon Davis, John DeCosta, Tara Dennison, Martina Dix, Dwayne Drake, Candis Fletcher, Marilyn Fuller, James Gadomski, Catherine Galarza, Angel Garcia, Saul Garcia, Steven Garcia, Taylor Goins, Korey Goudlock, Monique Gray, Mary Griffin, Brian Harper, Otha Harvey, Nicholas Hicks, Rhuneta Hightower, Paige Hirt, Arlanda Hokeah, Alissa Holcomb, Dante Holley, Erika Isaac, Brittany Jackson, Makeshar Jackson, Tiffany Johnston, Jiri Jones, Patrice Jones, Brandon Kay, Michael Kelly, Louise Laster, Deborah Legg, Darrell Leigh, Demetrius Liddell, Maria Lillard, Mary Lincoln, DeShawnee Little, Tamara McCloud, Joseph McFarland, Robert McGovern, Lonnet Minter, Andrea Mitchum, Micheal Moore, DeAndre Mosley, Eva Navedo, Ericka Newberger, Elaine Owens, Carla Page, Andrea Parra, Felicia Parsons, Dustin Passalacqua, DeAngelo Peeple, Thomas Pesta, Steven Prengler, Michelle Ransby, Rhiana Richards, Joel Rivera, Cassandra Roney, Jason Roseborough, Syreeta Russell, Joseph Sailey, Julia Shelton, Kara Sorensen, Johnathan Smith, Pierrette Smith, April Snow, Cheyenne Stanko, John Stokes, Darniqua Taylor, Angela Thomas, Lorenette Thompson-Turney, Liane Tracy, Taylor Van Wagner, Timothy Vanier, Nancy Vargas, Nancy Wagner, Nyree Watkins, Jenna Watters, Bobby Williams, Brianna Williams, and Keith Woodcox.