Former elementary school teacher now helps adults

Melissa Boles recently set up her classroom in the Piedmont Civic Center. She once taught elementary-age students in Piedmont, but now she works with young people and adults seeking their GED.

Sherry Kughn

Recently Melissa Boles spent an afternoon getting her new classroom ready for students. She will teach General Education Development (GED) classes to adults beginning on Monday, Nov. 13, at a new location. The classes, sponsored by Gadsden State Community College, will move from a classroom at the Piedmont Health Care Center into the banquet room on the second floor of the Clyde H. Pike Civic Center.

“We are trying to get new students,” Boles said, “and the class is free.”

The classes will be from 4:30-8 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays. However, those who cannot be there by 4:30 p.m. are encouraged to come when they can.

“We also assist students who are preparing to enter college and need to increase their current knowledge for college admission and placement,” Karen Blythe Smith, director of GSCC’s Adult Education program, said.

Students will be assessed on an individual level and placed in the grade necessary to begin pursuing their GED. The program tries to eliminate all obstacles that adults may face in obtaining a diploma and, later, a degree if they wish.

“Students who graduate with a GED through us can receive one free class at Gadsden State,” Boles said. “Also those who need financial help can apply to get assistance to help pay the $125 cost for the exam.”

Boles taught many Piedmont students at the elementary school where she spent 25 years. She has been helping adults obtain a GED in Cherokee County for the past 17 years.

“The job is very rewarding,” Boles said. “I once helped a 65-year-old female and a 79-year-old-old male get their GEDs. I have had numerous students who have graduated from Gadsden State after getting their GED.”

Smith said some students might prefer to obtain a Non-traditional High School Diploma, a designation given to those who studied course materials but did not pass the test.

“We want to let people know we are there to service them,” Tina Pendley, the administrative assistant to Smith, said.

The students eligible for the classes include students from Calhoun, Cherokee, Cleburne, and Etowah counties. Also Boles teaches in Cherokee County during morning hours.

Students may call or email to obtain more information. Call 256-835-5462 or 256-549-8357. Email or The Civic Center is located at 500 Mill St. Walk to the left side of the building and follow signs.

Email Sherry at