KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- County Mayor Mike Ragsdale and City Mayor Bill Haslam proclaimed Thursday, December 17, 2009, "Gretchen Wilson Day" in honor of her support and effort on behalf of Adult Education across the state of Tennessee.
Wilson, a Grammy-Award winning country music singer and recent GED (General Equivalency Diploma) graduate in Knoxville for a concert to promote her new single "Work Hard, Play Harder" at Cotton Eyed Joe Thursday evening, was presented with a Proclamation stating "it is the goal of Knox County Schools Adult Education and Knox County governing bodies to enroll citizens without high school diplomas in GED programs."
Gretchen Wilson has racked up numerous #1 singles, albums and videos and won virtually every award for which she has been nominated, but until last year she was one of millions of Americans who never finished high school. At the age of 34, she received her GED, and this past May she spoke in front of a Congressional panel about the importance of funding for adult education. In September, the National Coalition for Literacy (NCL) and the Center for the Book presented Gretchen with a 2009 NCL Literacy Leadership Award at a reception at the Library of Congress for her extraordinary contributions to improving literacy and raising awareness of the adult literacy and English language learning needs in the United States.
Both mayors signing the proclamation urge citizens to become familiar with the services and benefits offered by adult education through support and participation in these programs. They also highlight the importance of having a sufficient base of skilled workers in Knoxville and encourage citizens to continue education and job training.
Adult Education classes, which include GED and ELL (English Language Learners), are offered at Historic Knoxville High at 101 E. Fifth Avenue in downtown Knoxville. Classes are taught by licensed instructors who help individuals earn their GED, learn literacy skills, gain employability skills, and brush up on their basic academic skills. All classes are free and available to students year-round.
The Adult Education Program is funded by Knox County Schools and the Tennessee Department of Workforce and Labor Development. All students are evaluated and placed in classes to upgrade their skills and attain individual goals.
The GED is the official high school equivalency examination and is recognized nationally. The testing fee is $55, but many students qualify for a waiver that makes the test free to the student.