Complicated Lives Video

The challenges faced by many dropouts go far beyond academics. Most dropouts are un- or under-employed and many live in poverty. One expert quips that being poor is time consuming—waiting for access to healthcare, transportation, food and welfare programs. Meeting the many needs of their complicated lives is a key to success for many adult education programs. The expanded segments in this program are:

Tricia Amos and Enemy Swim Day School, Peever, South Dakota. Tricia faced a dysfunctional and abusive family situation before dropping out. She was raped and later was in a shelter, when someone told her about the FACE (Family and Child Education) program at Enemy Swim Day School, a program serves both parents and children, where obtained a GED® credential. She speaks calmly and eloquently about the difficulties she has faced and about self-forgiveness and persistence. The segment also addresses cultural aspects of her challenge—Native Americans have the highest dropout rate of any cultural group in the U.S.

Academy of Hope, Washington, D.C. is a community-based adult education program that recently became part of the nation’s capital’s network of adult alternative schools. The school was founded by Marja Hilfiker and the Church of the Savior as part of its outreach work and is located in a housing project in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

Also appearing on Complicated Lives:

  • Erin Landry, adult education coordinator, Delgado Community College, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Chance Doyle, GED® graduate, currently program director, Café Hope, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Jessie Fuentes, alumna, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School, Chicago, Illinois
  • Lecester Johnson, executive director, Academy of Hope Adult Education Center, Washington D.C.
  • Ebony Nava, GED® graduate and community college student at Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Lexington, Kentucky
  • Greg Mathis, GED® graduate and former district court judge in Detroit, Michigan; star of syndicated TV program Judge Mathis, taped in Chicago, Illinois
  • Diego Navarro, founder, Academy for College Excellence, Cabrillo Community College, Aptos, California
  • Steve Hernandez, director, Apprenticeship Program, Alexandria Seaport Foundation, Alexandria, Virginia
  • Victor Rios, former dropout and gang member, currently a Professor of Sociology at University of California Santa Barbara, author of Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys
  • Marja Hilfiker, founder, Academy of Hope Adult Education Center, Washington D.C.
  • Linda Hunter, student, Academy of Hope Adult Education Center, Washington D.C.
  • Kavitha Cardoza, special correspondent, WAMU, American University Radio, Washington, DC, who researched and created an award-winning series on dropouts in the Washington area
  • Stephen Ray, student, Academy of Hope Adult Education Center, Washington D.C.
  • Stephen Rose, economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, Washington, D.C.
  • Matthew Rodriguez, principal, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School, Chicago, Illinois
    Hector Perez, director, Barreto Club, Union League Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs
  • Russell Rumberger, professor of education, University of California Santa Barbara and author of Dropping Out: Why Students Drop Out of High School and What Can Be Done About It
  • Keith Moore, interim director, South Dakota Office of Indian Education
  • Teresa Shoemaker, coordinator, Family and Child Education (FACE) program, Enemy Swim Day School, Waubay, South Dakota

Fast Forward: College and Career Ready

The path to success in gaining a GED® and career readiness can be found in Fast Forward: College and Career Ready — an innovative, highly effective, multi-platform learning system created by KET (Kentucky Educational Television.)

The Fast Forward learning system helps students get ahead with in-depth online courses in language arts, math, science, and social studies, as well as professional development resources for adult educators.

Learn more at

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