NASHVILLE, Tenn. – YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee’s Family Learning Center (FLC) celebrated the success of 24 students on Saturday, July 23, during a virtual graduation ceremony. The graduates range in age from 19 to 76 years old and overcame significant challenges – including language and transportation barriers, mobility and vision issues, and a devastating pandemic – to earn their High School Equivalency diplomas.
Betty Alexander – also known as Ms. Betty – has been working on and off to earn her HSE diploma since 1979. She entered the YWCA’s adult education program in 2008. During that time, she faced the death of her husband, COVID, transportation barriers, and the significant format change to the test, from GED to the five-section HiSET test. However, Ms. Betty never gave up. She worked closely with the FLC’s teachers and tutors, and on May 23, she took her final section of the test and passed. YWCA hosted a reception for Ms. Betty and her family and friends at the its administrative offices in Green Hills on July 15.
“Betty Alexander is a student who exemplifies the true spirit of lifelong learning,” said YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee president and CEO Sharon K. Roberson. “She is determined and courageous, and we are delighted to celebrate her tenacity, hard work, and dedication to her education. The perseverance Ms. Betty shows in her studies inspires everyone around her, and her drive is a constant reminder to YWCA faculty and staff of why we do the important work that we do.”
Ms. Betty took part in the FLC’s virtual graduation with her fellow graduates and their families. Students hail from the U.S., Mexico, Honduras, and Nigeria. The graduation ceremony featured a video greeting from Mayor John Cooper and live remarks from Nashville First Lady Laura Cooper. Watch the full ceremony here.
During this past year, the FLC served 234 students, and 25 percent of these women and men made educational gains (passing all or part of the HiSET exam). The FLC is supported by generous funders, including the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and United Way of Metropolitan Nashville. Our program partners include the Hispanic Family Foundation and the GOAL Collective.
Nearly 100,000 adults in Metro Nashville do not have a high school diploma. The Nashville Adult Literacy Council reports that 20 percent of adults in Davidson County are functionally illiterate. Individuals who pass the HiSET can receive higher wages, better job opportunities, and access to higher education.
For 124 years, YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee has helped women, girls, and families in Nashville and Middle Tennessee build safer, more self-sufficient lives. YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Programs include Domestic Violence Services, Girls Inc., AMEND Together, Dress for Success, Family Learning Center, and Social Justice & Advocacy. For more information, visit www.ywcanashville.com and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @YWCANashville.