Khidari Barksdale of Madison has come a long way from his days as a shy homeschooled student. When his parents told him they wanted him to either finish his high school diploma at a public school or earn his General Educational Development Test (GED), the soft-spoken teenager decided the latter was the best choice for him. Since that day, Barksdale has gone through the GED readiness courses, passed all four tests, and enrolled as a freshman, all at Holmes Community College on the Ridgeland Campus.
"Mrs. Brooke Hood and Mrs. Lina Lopez from Holmes were so helpful through the whole process," Barksdale said. "From preparing me for the GED, to getting through each exam, to assisting me in becoming a first-time college student, they've been great. I am also so grateful for Dr. Lorrie Anderson and Will Goodwin, my private tutors who supported me throughout the process."
Barksdale is quick to share, however, that though he had a strong support system, the journey was not always an easy one. He studied for the GED for a few years, and passed all exams except for Mathematics. Then, before he had an opportunity to take it again, the GED Test changed in 2014, causing the exam to be a bit more complicated. Changes included: the test becoming computer-based as opposed to the former paper-based testing, and the test adding several new item types (fill in the blank, drag-and-drop, multiple select, short answer, and extended item response, to name a few). The new item type required candidates to have a more in-depth understanding of the necessary skills, eliminating the use of many test-taking strategies that are taught to pass multiple choice exams.
Barksdale, who is starting his first year at Holmes as an English major, plans to eventually take some courses in art and business, earn a degree, and own his own art gallery and website to accompany it. A lover of the arts, he enjoys sculpting, pottery, and drawing. Barksdale has high hopes for the future, and continually expresses his gratitude to those who have helped him reach his goals thus far.
When asked what advice he would pass on to others who are in similar situations as him, Barksdale said, "Don't doubt yourself and don't give up on your dreams, you can do anything you put your mind to as long as you work hard and believe in yourself!"
Holmes offers Adult Basic Education classes in several locations in its district, including the Attala Center in Kosciusko, the McGowan Workforce Center on the Ridgeland Campus, the Madison County WIN Center in Canton, UMC Hospital Mobile Unit in Lexington, the Wolfe Technology Building at Winona High School, and the Yazoo Teen Center in Yazoo City. High School Equivalency Exams, which include the GED Tests, are administered at both the Attala Center and the Holmes Ridgeland Campus.
For more information about the Holmes GED preparation courses/test administration, contact Adult Basic Education/GED Director Nancy McRight at (662) 290-0808 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
IN THIS PHOTO: Pictured (left) is Khidari Barksdale, a student who went through the GED preparation courses at Holmes Community College, took and passed his GED, and is now a full-time freshman at Holmes. With Barksdale is (left to right) Holmes GED Test Administrator Lina Lopez and Holmes GED Instructor Brooke Hood.