The Buffalo public school district's adult education division, in cooperation with the South Buffalo Education Center, has moved a program into South Park High School where those who did not earn a high school diploma can now do so. Both education and elected leaders gathered at South Park High School to dedicate a new sign identifying the high school as the home of their joint adult education effort.
"We can do more to support our students, our young people, because I think all of us feel our young people are our future," said interim Buffalo school superintendent Amber Dixon. "We have to make sure that if they don't have a high school diploma, they get one. If they aren't in college, we find a way to get them there. That we make some promises and we start keeping some of those promises."
Dixon told GED students of her own career path. She didn't enter college immediately following high school but rather entered the workforce, where she moved through several jobs until returning to school and earning a college degree in her 30s. Dixon was just one of several speakers who shared the theme of "alternative paths" when addressing the students. All encouraged the students to return to the classroom as part of their different course in life.
"One of my favorite poets, Robert Frost, said I came to a break in the woods and I took the path less taken, and it has made all the difference," said Buffalo Common Councilmember Mickey Kearns. "You have taken a different path. You haven't taken the regular path, but you know what? It is going to make all the difference for you."
During his own remarks, when State Assemblyman Mark Schroeder recalled founding the South Buffalo Education Center several years ago, he noted a statistic from that period of time: at least 66,000 people of workforce age in Erie County lacked a high school diploma.