he Literacy Coun-cil of Tyler will present its annual Corporate Spel-ling Bee at 11 a.m. on Tuesday at Green Acres Baptist Church’s CrossWalk Con-ference Center. If you’ve never been, you need to go.
What could be more fun than watching perfectly intelligent adults look totally mortified as they struggle to spell words in front of a huge audience? And those in the audience don’t just sit there and politely applaud when someone gets a word right. They whoop and holler and generally act like fools (in a nice way, sort of).
The theme of the bee this year is Broadway Musicals. All are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite musical character (that alone should prove interesting enough to go).
Behind all this fun is some serious business. The Literacy Council of Tyler, by giving people the ability to read and obtain their GED, is changing lives for the better.
On its website, lcot.org, are several “success stories,” such as the one below.
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A single mom of two, Barbara Merritt always put her kids’ needs first. Focusing on her education was never a priority, especially since she never had any trouble finding work. That was until the recession hit.
She quickly found out that employers wanted people with at least a high school diploma or a GED. Barbara admits she wasn’t ready or even motivated to go back to school, but knew she had to make a change. She said with God leading her steps, she decided to tackle getting her GED.
When Barbara tested at Literacy Council of Tyler, her reading scores placed her in the accelerated course. She worked hard. Although it was tough, she finished in six weeks. But like most of LCOT students, Barbara had a tough time with math.
She had passed all of her subject areas on the GED but was one test away from finishing because of math. Math is not one of those subjects that with a little practice you pick up where you left off in high school. Barbara did not give up. She studied at home, came to tutoring and, in December 2013, she passed her math, earning her GED.
While working on her GED, she also heard about the Dual Enrollment Program and applied for it. Through a grant Literacy Council of Tyler receives from one of its community partners, The Women’s Fund, Barbara was able to attend the four-week nurse aide program and the interview training workshop.
She never missed a day, and in one month she had her certified nurse aide license. She was so excited and was able to find a job within days of completing the course.
She expressed how grateful and blessed she is now to have her GED and CNA license. “I had wonderful and supportive instructors, and I am really inspired and motivated to strive for a better life for myself and my family.”
Barbara is enjoying life and said she is in a comfortable place right now. She loves her job and what she is doing and is staying busy.
“Life is good” she said. She doesn’t have plans to go back to school in the immediate future, but said, “There is peace in knowing that when I am ready, I know I can.”