Having to drop out of high school can be a big regret for many people. People drop out for many reasons: family commitments or issues, financial difficulties and parenthood. Many soon realize the lost benefits from not having a diploma.

These benefits include earning more money (an estimated $260,000 over a lifetime), being more competitive in the job market, applying for many government or other jobs, opening more doors to get into the military, certain colleges or trade schools, gaining more pride and feeling of accomplishment and stronger life skills in general.

Earning a high school diploma demonstrates responsibility, goal setting and the self-discipline needed to be a good worker.

Getting a high school diploma as an adult has never been easier in Los Banos. The Los Banos Adult School offers options to complete this goal with web-based or small group instruction. It is on a non-fee basis and is free to the public.

The flexible options can work well with anyone’s schedule with day, evening, or independent study programs. The courses are taught through a web-based study program called the Odysseyware software and are held Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. or from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Enrolled students opting for distance learning can use the computers in the classroom or off campus for independent study or with Odysseyware as needed. Students who elect to do the independent studies route need to meet with the teacher once a week to assess their progress.

A total of 180 credits are needed to graduate as an adult, including 40 in English, 40 in Science, 20 in Math, 10 in Social Studies, 10 in U.S. History, 10 in U.S. Government/Economics, 10 in Art/Foreign Language, and 60 in Electives.

Students may already have credits through work experience, military service, remedial college courses or completion of secondary education classes in the U.S. or in a foreign country. All Adult School students who earn a high school diploma have the opportunity to participate in a traditional graduation.

The adult school also offers a Spanish GED class in the evenings.

All interested students need to enroll at the Los Banos District Office located at 1717 S. 11th Street, Los Banos. For information call (209) 826-3801, ext. 7006. An official high school transcript is needed prior to enrollment. It is never too late to get a high school diploma and graduate.

Sandy Lemas

Sandy Lemas is a longtime resident of Los Banos who has volunteered much of her time to community service. She will be writing a regular column on volunteers and volunteer organizations that help their community.