A Pima Community College employee has turned an obstacle into an opportunity for adult learners who dream of getting a high school equivalency diploma and continuing their studies at Pima.
PCC graduate Denise Turner, who now works as an Advanced Student Services Specialist at East Campus, learned that adult education High School Equivalency (HSE) test fees would rise to $140 from $80. The four-part HSE exam covers science, social studies, math, and language arts. Each test costs $35, which must be paid by the individual.
After considering ways to raise funds for the test fees, she organized a rummage sale last May that netted $4,300 and involved 40-50 East Campus and community participants.
Now there is a High School Equivalency Scholarship Fund in the PCC Foundation to help individuals pay for the HSE exams.
Over the summer, she took the campaign a step further by establishing a “store” on Poshmark, an online women’s resale clothing site with proceeds earmarked for the scholarship fund. She has recruited others to donate apparel and accessories and has 400 items on the site. The goal: generate enough sales each month to pay for one adult learner’s test fees.
And last month, she organized an East Campus craft sale with jewelry, stoneware, and knitted and crocheted items that netted $730 for the scholarship fund.
Turner also is involved with Math Bridge, a math proficiency pilot program at Pima.
“I have the chance to build relationships with people who have had some hard knocks in life and are coming back (to school) trying to catch up. They’re enthusiastic, hardworking, and inspiring. It has been a really rewarding experience for me.”
While the scholarship fund is on firm footing, it is not enough, because there are 40 individuals a month who need help paying for the test fees, she explained.
“The need is great. My hope is to generate some interest outside the college to help.
There are a lot of people who want to give, but don’t know where or how to do it. These adult learners deserve our support. And it benefits the community to have them move ahead.”