News Archive

Inmate sees future after getting GED

By Justin Story BG Daily News

Man receiving GED certificate from presenter
Photo by Bac Totrong/Bowling Green Daily News
Hours of effort have culminated in a reward for Brittanie Hawks and a jump-start on life when her incarceration ends.

Hawks, 26, received her General Educational Development diploma Thursday in a ceremony at Warren County Regional Jail with a group of seven other GED graduates and five recipients of the National Career Readiness Certificate.

While serving a sentence for receiving stolen property, Hawks has been transferred among a number of jails but was able to complete her GED coursework in Warren County and pass the exam with honors, which entails a score of higher than 170 out of 200 on each of the test's four subjects, demonstrating college readiness.

"This day is really important to me," said Hawks of Louisville, who expects to be released in September. "It took me a long time to get here. ... I didn't do all this for nothing."

Thursday's ceremony recognized the latest graduates among those who participated in the GED and NCRC Corrections Education Program at the jail, part of Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College's Adult Education Program.

Brian Becker, adult education director at SKYCTC, urged the new graduates to take pride in their achievement and use it as motivation to pursue further educational and career endeavors, citing two former inmates who received their GEDs last year and came to SKYCTC's campus to pursue continuing education after their release.

"This demonstrates that you have what it takes to make a meaningful impact in your own life and your family's life and on society," Becker said.

Recent reforms, including a move to a computerized testing format, have made the GED a more rigorous test of knowledge in language arts, math, science and social studies, and the exam itself represents a testing time of seven hours.

"The challenge today is tenfold, in my opinion, compared to what it was," Warren County Jailer Jackie Strode said during the ceremony.

In addition to the GED recipients, the event honored those who earned Kentucky National Career Readiness Certificates, a credential that show prospective employers that the recipients are skilled in applied mathematics, reading for information and locating information.

Hawks plans to return to Louisville upon her release, and is considering furthering her education with an aim toward becoming a drug counselor. She credits the staff involved with GED instruction at the jail for enabling her to graduate.

"Here I got a lot more attention," Hawks said. "They worked with me as much as they possibly could."
Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit bgdailynews.com