Adult-ed students join honor society

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By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

TELL CITY - A wise woman was once approached by a crowd demanding to know the secret behind her knowledge, Mary Roberson told a small audience at William Tell Elementary School Tuesday.

The woman rocked quietly as the crowd searched her house and barn. Angry at their inability to discover her secret, they accused her of being from somewhere else, another planet, perhaps.

Only a little girl among them, distracted by pebbles along the crowd's path and curious about a tarnished penny found in the woman's well, had the secret that made the woman wise, according to the children's book Roberson read from.

Audience members included participants in Even Start, a program that helps adults with small children further their education, and in the county's adult-literacy program. Also present were friends and family members helping celebrate the induction of some of those program participants into the Adult Education Honor Society.

Roberson, superintendent for Perry Central Community School and one of the people who helped launch Even Start locally, said she enjoys reading children's books.

"This one made me think about all your hard work," she said of "The Wise Woman and Her Secret" before inviting the Even Start and adult-literacy-program participants to accept a penny from her as a reminder of its message.

"That's the secret to wisdom: curiosity. With your participation, you show that you know the secret to wisdom."

"You've done some phenomenal things," Indiana University Southeast professor of education Susan Ridout told the participants. Despite all the other demands and often-conflicting responsibilities in their lives, she said, "you stuck with it. You found wisdom, curiosity and the drive to move forward."

She pointed out the participants are serving as role models for family members, neighbors and others, then read the requirements for induction into the adult-education honor society. Among them are prompt and consistent attendance, active participation, respect for others' ideas and values, and the ability to take responsibility for learning.

She would add to the criteria, Ridout said, that participants must encourage others to enter the program and stick with it until they achieve their educational goals.

Even Start Director Darryl Irvin noted each inductee receives a certificate, a letter of recommendation for prospective employers and another letter intended to help them get college financial aid.

Even Start inductees were Amie Atchison, Mandy Fuchs, Kimiko Fujii, Sachie Hazumi, Masami Ishikawa, Andrea Kennedy, Jessica Lewis, Crystal Long, Jodi Northern, Masako Sakai, Felicia Sandage, Karrie Sipes, Stephanie Taylor, Ryoko Tsuge, Celle Willcut and Akemi Yasudu.

Adult-education inductees were Don Biever, Lisa Hartfield, Donna Reed and Dennis Sims.