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New SCC High School Equivalency Course Proves Successful

This fall, Sandhills Community College put into place a new course to help prepare students to earn a high school credential. “Fast Track to High School Equivalency (HSE)” was offered as a speedier way to prepare for and take either the General Education Development (GED®) exams or the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET®). The feedback from students was extremely positive.


The course was offered in a hybrid format. Most lessons were presented and taught online and portions were in a classroom at the Sandhills Hoke Center in Raeford.


In November, the first class of Fast Track to HSE students graduated after only 13 weeks of classes. “This is quite an accomplishment,” said Debra Sikes, CCR coordinator at the Hoke Center, “especially during the difficult times caused by the pandemic. Yet, this was the case for Alima Darboe, Deanna Edwards, Patrick Naylor, and Mary Ann Smith. Harley Jones graduated the Fast Track to HSE course in September.”


All five students said they would recommend this class to other students. One remarked that the faster pace kept her motivated and another liked being able to take the exams in such short order. They also liked the teaching style used in the classroom.


One student advanced in his job immediately at more than double his pay. Another graduate plans to enroll in the Nurse Aide program at Sandhills.


Sikes added, “Often, employers will work with the students to help them schedule their class around their work hours. Not only does that show a commitment by the student, but also a commitment by employers who value education.”


Belinda McFerrin joined the Career and College Readiness (CCR) team in July and put all the pieces into place for the program to begin the fall semester. The graduates highly praised her. One student commented, “She is a shining example of what a teacher should be. She was one of our biggest supporters; always patient, kind, and determined to help with any problems that came up.”


The CCR division of Continuing Education has long offered free classes to prepare adult students to take the tests. Sandhills Community College also provides official GED® and HiSET® testing services.


The next Fast Track to HSE class will begin in January. The program is free and offered online with minimal on-campus sessions during the COVID-19 situation. For more information, visit or contact Deb Sikes at or (910) 848-4300.

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