Jerome Vorus Jr. once held negative connotations about the GED, or general educational development test. Today, he has a totally different outlook.
Vorus, as a teen, had medical problems that caused him to miss school days. He went on to earn his GED through a program operated by Alexandria City Public Schools. Since then, he has volunteered in Latin America and served as an intern on Capitol Hill and at the White House for a cable network.
Vorus now works in technical operations for Fox News.
“You can go above and beyond with the GED,” Vorus told community leaders at a ACPS Adult Learning Center open house Thursday. “It’s not going to hold you back. What holds people back is themselves. The GED does not measure the amount of success one has. That person measures the amount of success they will have in life.”
ACPS Adult Learning Center Program Coordinator Teri Barnett said Vorus refutes the notion that obtaining a GED necessarily puts students at a disadvantage in the job market. The ACPS Adult Learning Center is based on the Stonewall campus, located on South Quaker Lane, and has satellite campuses at T.C. Williams High School, William Ramsay Elementary School, George Washington Middle School and the city’s detention center.
Barnett said no one knows when school system’s adult education program started, but it goes back to at least 1954. The program is funded through federal and state grants as well as the city and the school system. Alexandria city residents pay $65 per course, and non-residents pay $235.
Since July, the program has enrolled 438 students from approximately 88 countries, Barnett said.
Also speaking Thursday was ACPS Superintendent Morton Sherman, who called the program a model for the state and country.
“So many of our families here in Alexandria come here to us and come to other places in the city to get an education, to get training, and it’s not just about the GED, but it’s giving them job skills that go with the GED,” he said.
Alexandria Mayor Bill Euill praised ACPS for taking the opportunity educate not only the young, but adults as well.
“Folks need an opportunity to continue their education, especially if they weren’t given the opportunity to finish high school and had to drop out for whatever reason, and then to have the adult learning program that can can enable you to complete that, get your equivalent GED, high school diploma or GED, and to continue on in life,” Euille said.