Peer-Run GED Labs Prepare Students for Success

The programming department at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility in Meridian, MS, has a great GED program. One of the reasons for its success is the facility’s peer tutor lab.

As students are ready to begin GED testing, they’re sent to this peer-led lab to get them ready. Warden Donald Jackson credits his staff for utilizing the peer tutor GED lab, including Deputy Warden of Programs Jeremy Andrews.

“He actually worked with them with training,” says Warden Jackson. “He worked with the teachers with training. I think the team has come together and we’re working very well. And I think the guys that we have now that’s teaching, I think they’re doing an outstanding job because we have guys actually passing the GED test on their first term. So I think that’s a good thing right there.”

“It gives me a sense of achievement and necessity,” GED Peer Tutor Todd Brewer says. “I’ve seen guys come from not even being able to read and write to having completed the 12th grade but never graduated and get a GED in a week. Sometimes it takes years, sometimes it takes a week. But it’s a real blessing to watch these men and the smiles on their faces and then to hear it from their families at graduation [about] how excited they are and how proud of their guys they are. And that to me is beyond measure.”

East Mississippi Peer Tutor GED Lab Still
Todd Brewer, GED tutor.

Brannon Barnes is also a GED lab tutor.

“I like helping people. I like the kind of instant gratification like the ‘Aha!’ moments, [as] Ms. McClendon called it. You know, in the beginning of the lesson I start talking about something that seems foreign to everybody. And through the midway [or] maybe at the end of class, people go, ‘Ah, I get it!’ You know, I like that. It makes me feel like I accomplished something. I helped teach something and somebody bettered themselves because of me. It’s a good feeling to know that I’m using this time to not only benefit myself and grow myself, but help others grow as well.”

East Mississippi Peer Tutor GED Lab Still
Brannon Barnes teaches a student.

“Finding something and some place that I could use my skills, my talents, my education, the background that I had, to help other people made all the difference in the world for me,” explains Todd. “It brought me out of that deep mire, and really helped me to start feeling that I was worth something again.”