Emerson offers educational services to community

Staff Writer

Adult education programs at the Emerson Family School continue to go strong, with more than 130 new enrollments this year, not including students already in the program.

Emerson offers several adult education programs, including high school equivalency courses, high school diploma completion courses and WorkKeys certification. In August, Emerson added an English conversation class on Fridays, mainly catering to the families of international researchers at Mississippi State University.

“In our community, we’re so blessed to have so many international families, who move here many times because they’re affiliated in some form with the university,” said Emerson Family School Director Joan Butler. “This has been an experience that we’ve had through our department for many years, and we try to work with those families to help them learn our culture, while at the same time, learning about theirs.”

Butler said the class focused on conversational language to help students get by in the U.S.

“When they go to the grocery store, or they are faced with a situation, they will at least have the conversational skills to be able to enjoy their experiences here,” Butler said.

Instructor Laura Thurmond said the group of students in the English conversation class were supportive of each other and had become their own community. She said several nations were represented including Japan, Saudi Arabia and Iran, among others. In addition to those affiliated with MSU, family members of migrant Hispanic workers have also attended the class.

“They’re very supportive of one another,” Thurmond said.

Thurmond also discussed other adult education services offered through Emerson. She said more and more students were choosing to complete their high school diplomas at Emerson. For high school equivalency, Emerson offers both the GED and HiSet tests. Classes are free, but testing fees apply. However, some scholarship money exists to cover testing fees.

“We have a lot of flexibility with students, and that’s who we seem to get, a lot of students who may have a job or family commitments, because they can come when it’s convenient for them,” Thurmond said.

Emerson is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. Classes are also available at the J.L. King Center. For more information, Emerson can be reached at 662-324-4183.