Dr. Mary Ann Lewis with GED Prep students

Dr. Mary Ann Lewis (center) and Courtney Green (far right) had a chance to speak with a group of current GED© Prep students about the scholarship. The students are: (from left) Jesus Zahajduk, Kimberly Garcia, Evan Bosley, Cameron Kilpatrick, Dakota Karns, and Nate Espinoza.

AVON PARK, Fla. – Sept. 2, 2022 – Students who have graduated from South Florida State College (SFSC) with their State of Florida High School diploma have even more incentive to continue their academic endeavors as the result of a newly created scholarship, the GED© Graduates Endowed Scholarship.

The GED© Graduates Endowed Scholarship was established by Dr. Mary Ann Lewis, an educator, through the SFSC Foundation to help students further their academic careers. The scholarship covers tuition, books, and supplies. It gives preference to graduates who participated in the General Educational Development (GED©) Prep program at SFSC and passed all four required exams. Other criteria for the scholarship are that the applicant must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment at SFSC, preference is given to an applicant who has committed to a minimum of 6 credits per semester with at least one class in a face-to-face classroom, and the applicant must be able to maintain academic progress with a minimum 2.0 GPA each semester.

“SFSC is all about pathways,” said Courtney Green, Adult Education director at SFSC. “Individuals in our community have various educational goals and sometimes encounter challenges that interrupt their educational journey in the K-12 system. The SFSC GED® preparatory class offers students an alternative pathway to earn a State of Florida High School Diploma. Obtaining a high school diploma by passing the GED allows individuals to advance in employment or continue on to postsecondary education. I am proud that the College stays committed to offering this program. Not only does this program transform an individual but also the community.”

SFSC’s GED© Prep program is available to residents of Florida 16 years of age or older who do not have a high school diploma. Through the program, students develop skills to pass the GED© exams that cover reading, writing, math, language, and science. By attending face-to-face classes, students are 75% more likely to pass the GED© exam on the first try. Upon successfully completing the four subject area tests, students earn a State of Florida High School Diploma.

“This scholarship is meaningful to those of us in SFSC’s Adult Education program, because we can inform students that funding is available to help them continue their education,” said Green. “The ultimate goal is not just to get their high school diploma, but to encourage graduates on their career path to a high-skill, high-wage job, and become self-sufficient.”

Dr. Lewis’ decision to fund the GED© Graduates Endowed Scholarship came after meeting a 16-year-old girl who had dropped out of high school. “Although she dropped out of high school, she started taking classes at SFSC to prepare for the GED© exams,” Dr. Lewis said. “I was really impressed with her determination. Within a few months, she took all four tests and passed all four. Now she’s enrolled at Valencia College in Orlando, studying Information Technology.”

Dr. Lewis knows, firsthand, the importance of an education. Shortly after graduating from high school in Philadelphia, she studied to become a medical technician. One year after beginning her training, she discovered that medicine and med tech were not for her. She enrolled in Pennsylvania State Teacher’s College to become a teacher. That’s when she found her passion in life. She earned a bachelor’s, a master’s, and a doctoral degree. During her career in education, Dr. Lewis spent 15 years in administration in the Miami-Dade Public School System and spent 15 years teaching graduate education at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

“Education is the one thing in life that nobody can take away from you,” she said. “I used to tell my students at Nova Southeastern that somebody can take your house, your car, or your jewelry, but they can’t take your education. You earned it and it belongs to you.”

To apply for the GED© Graduates Endowed Scholarship, visit AwardSpring at: https://southflorida.awardspring.com/. To learn more about the GED© Prep Program at SFSC, contact the Office of Adult Education at 863-784-7441 or visit the SFSC webpage at https://bit.ly/3KOaY81.