Three sisters unite to earn GED at same ceremony

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By Stephen Thomas

 MOUNT WASHINGTON - Each year the Bullitt County GED graduating class is full of unique stories from individuals who received their diplomas the non-traditional way.

The 2012 graduating class saw something that may never have occurred before in Bullitt County, a trio of sisters participating in the graduation ceremonies.

April (21), Amber (19) and Autumn (18) Rushing all completed their GED requirements in the spring of 2012.

The sisters were home schooled for a majority of their education, supervised by their mother, Denise.

“Personally I thought their education might be better (at home),” said Denise. She incorporated a home school program, A Beka Academy, which features Christian-based classroom settings on video.

Along with the official program, the girls said having each other around to offer support assisted each in their individual efforts.

“If I didn’t understand something I could get the others’ take on things,” April said.

“It made the work easier to remember,” Amber added.

“They were reading in Kindergarten,” Denise mentioned. “They also learned cursive writing.”

The girls participated in Vacation Bible School with Little Flock Baptist Church. They also experienced a brief stint with public schools during their middle school education to see how things were.

“There were pros and cons,” said Amber. “There were new experiences but (at home) we were always doing something new.”

“The other students had been together since early on,” Autumn said. “So Amber and I were still together.”

“Sometimes you get lonely,” Amber said about not attending a school. “But I don’t miss that daily gossip and grind.”

Friends don’t always understand the home school lifestyle, and the girls have their issues trying to defend their personal education.

“It’s hard work,” said April. “It’s harder because of Mom. We couldn’t get away with stuff.”

“Some friends think we sleep all day and play all the time,” Amber said.

The girls acquired their GEDs with assistance from the KentuckianaWorks Youth Career Center. Youth specialists Tim Safely and Dusty Lay acknowledged the positives of family support.

“You could see their loyalty to their family and their parents,” Safely said. “All three had an interest in doing something and they applied at the same time. They had like a buddy system.”

“That’s a big plus in the program, that support system,” Lay said. “They offered each other lots of encouragement. Two of them finished earlier but still came in to show support.”

The sisters credited the Youth Career Center staff for assisting in areas where their education could still use improvement, such as writing skills.

“I needed help with writing and they assisted,” said Autumn. “They offered more composition work. The different essays helped. Plus they offered refreshing steps in math.”

“They offered advice, tricks, on how to learn that helped in math,” April said. “They really helped out with writing.”

Safely mentioned that the Rushings did a good job helping as community volunteers through the Youth Career Center,active with charities such as Christmas gift basket distributions to Colonial House residents.

“They were probably the most helpful students in the program,” said Lay. “They brought in many of their own donations.”

Safely said each sister hoped to acquire further training or college credit in various fields for future employment.

April mentioned she would likely attend a technology school, possibly studying to become an automotive mechanic.

“I would like to do a broad range, including diesel engines,” she said. “I’ve always liked cars and that job will always be in demand.”

Amber is leaning toward college to become a physical therapist. She is considering working with the military.

“I’d like to help people, but not in a life or death situation,” she said.

Autumn hasn’t decided on tech school or college. Her top two career choices are veterinary technician or a pilot.

“I always loved animals and working with them,” she said. “A tech spends less time in college and is more hands-on. And I always thought it would be cool to fly. It’s a really big decision.”

The Rushing Family gave credit to the Youth Career Center and its staff with their assistance in completing the GED program, including computer lab use and assistance with transportation.

For more information about the KentuckianaWorks Youth Career Center in Bullitt County call 955-9140 or visit www.kentuckianaworks.org.