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Sep 06 2013

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Two Local Men Earn Musick Lifelong Learning Award

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Aaron Absher and Dewey Church (center) are joined by (from left) Mark Musick, Jane Bowlin – Absher’s instructor, Robbie Collins – Church’s instructor, and Lynn Musick at Thursday’s awards ceremony.

Most students who reenter the classroom as adults struggle to balance school, family and work. Many face the daily challenges to complete their study and very few adult students are recognized for their efforts to continue their education.

Last Thursday afternoon, two adult learners who recently earned their GED through the Regional Adult Education Program were recognized for their efforts when they received the newly-created Mary and H.L. Musick Lifelong Learning Award, which includes a cash award of $250 each.

Mark and Lynn Musick, sons of the late Mary and H.L. Musick, made the decision to give this award each year to two deserving adult learners because of the impact education has made on their lives.

“It’s important to me because I have done a fair amount of work on literacy and I serve on the National Literacy Board,” said Mark Musick. “But I wanted to do something here locally in my parents’ honor and in the area where our family was raised. It’s just our way of saying well done.”

The Musick Family recalled clearing the dishes from the table after meals and using it as a study table. Even their father, H.L., became an adult learner when he made the decision to pass a math test at the Mead Corporation in Kingsport, Tenn. for a higher-paying job. So he joined a class in a night-school program to help him learn the math required for his job.

“I just think it’s a win-win situation for everyone,” stated Lynn Musick. “I remember my mother and father having to give me a little nudge here and there. And I’m grateful that they did.”

On Thursday afternoon, Aaron Absher of Duffield and Dewey Church of Norton were each awarded a $250 cash award for their efforts in the Regional Adult Educational Program.

Absher passed reading, science and social studies tests in July 2007 in Tennessee. In September 2012, he reentered the Adult Education Program to take on his most difficult task of writing.

On March 12, 2013, Absher passed his writing test on the first try, thus earning his GED. By April, he gained employment at Tempur Productions but he didn’t stop there. He entered an electricity course offered through Mountain Empire Community College held at the Scott County Career and Technical Center.

“This program has opened so many doors for me,” said Absher. “It has helped me to get better paying jobs and opportunities to continue my education. I’m just getting started and hopefully the sky in the limit.”

Church was encouraged by his wife, Janie, to obtain his GED and she contacted the Regional Adult Education Program to acquire information for her husband.

Church began taking classes in Wise and was even further encouraged by his instructor, Robert Collins, to continue his education. Church made quick work of his reading, social studies and science exams but had to spend a little more time on math and writing.

After working with instructors, family and friends for a little over two years on math and writing, Church passed his final exams and became a GED graduate this year at the age of 50.

“This means the world to me,” said Church. “I’ve strived for this all of my life. I hope to be taking some college courses in the near future and continue my education.”

Regional Adult Educational Program Manager Rebecca Scott said that Absher and Church are just two adult students who exemplify the importance of a continued education.

“I can’t think of two more deserving men,” said Scott. “Both Aaron and Dewey have put forth so much effort and worked tirelessly to earn their GED.”

The Musick Family has decided to fund the award at least for the next five years to two deserving adult learners who are involved in the Regional Adult Education Program of Lee, Scott, Wise and Norton Public Schools.

“I hope this is the start for these two guys and not the end for them. The president of Mountain Empire is here today and I’m sure he would be delighted to be presenting them with an Associate’s Degree in a couple of years. We just want people to keep striving and moving forward,” added Lynn Musick.

Dr. Scott Hamilton is the president of Mountain Empire Community College.

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