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Q&A With Deb Sikes on Fast Track to HSE

Bright colored background, text that reads, "Fast Track to High School Equivalency (HSE)"

“Fast Track to High School Equivalency (HSE)” allows students to earn their high school diploma in only 12 weeks. Students will gain the skills and knowledge needed to pass the GED tests in Social Studies, Science, Math, and Language Arts.

Get an inside look at what the class entails and how it can help you achieve your career and education goals in this Q&A with Deb Sikes, Coordinator of College and Career Readiness at the Hoke Center.

What is Fast Track to HSE? 

Our classes help students earn their High School Equivalency diploma. The Fast Track to GED is like our other classes, only on steroids, by assisting students to gain their diploma within 12 weeks. This fast pace keeps the students very motivated. As you may know, the GED is divided into four components, math, science, social studies, and language arts. So, with the Fast Track program, our students concentrate on just one of those subjects at a time, and then they take that test, then they move to the next subject.

Who is this class for?

All of our potential students take a pretest to assess their current academic skills. Fast Track students must demonstrate that they have strong skills by scoring within a certain range on that test. So, it is limiting in that regard, but if you don’t qualify initially, it’s not the end of the world by any means because you’re able to enroll in other classes that we offer, build up those skills, retest, and then you may qualify for the Fast Track program. In addition, they have to be dedicated and make education a top priority for those 12 weeks.

What opportunities do students gain once they’ve completed the class?

It opens up a lot of doors of opportunity that were not available before. For students who are wanting a college degree, they are now able to qualify for college admissions. For example, a number of our students wanted to go into the medical field. That’s a great field to be in, but they couldn’t do it because of not having that diploma. By getting their GED Diploma they can enter into college programs that they weren’t before. For other students, their employer may say “Well, you can’t advance any further until you get a diploma.” With this diploma, they’re able then to advance within their own company.

Others use the opportunity to seek employment with other companies to get into better opportunities and better careers. We had one recent graduate who in his words, got the “job of his dreams” and doubled his income.

What would you like to tell someone who’s thinking about taking Fast Track to HSE?

It’s is a game-changer for students. We’ve had a couple of students just recently tell us that their employer said that if they don’t get their diploma within 90 days, they will lose their jobs. Getting a diploma in 90 days is pretty tight, but with the Fast Track program, they’re able to accomplish it within that time frame. What has impressed me the most I think are some employers that we’ve had who change the students’ work schedule to help accommodate and allow them to attend these morning classes — talk about a commitment from the employer! I think it can make a difference for a lot of students.

A new cohort of “Fast Track to High School Equivalency (HSE)” students begin at the start of a new content subject and occur virtually Mondays-Thursdays 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Classes are taught by Belinda McFerrin who, according to her recent graduates, is an awesome teacher who motivates her students and helps them to succeed. Contact Deb Sikes at (910) 848-4300 or sikesd@sandhills.edu to enroll.

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