Opening the Door

Last evening the successes of the first 30 GED Graduates was celebrated at the International School of Aruba. The program was announced exactly one year ago, by the then MinEdu determined to deliver more career opportunities and an option in education.

At the time, the International School of Aruba together with the Ministry of Education launched the GED, General Educational Development, hoping to restore hope for those whose education was interrupted and who are now adults, in need of a diploma.

The GED here offered recovery to candidates proficient in English and competent in Math, Science and History.

At the time headmaster Dennis Willeford reported he had about 75 candidates identified, and this week 30 of them graduated, enjoying diplomas and the traditional recessional with members of the audience on their feet, applauding and wiping tears.

The graduation was a festive occasion, and the tears were tears of joy.

The Class of 2018 received a symbolic key from headmaster Willeford, as teacher Leigh Ann Vanderheyden addressed the audience warmly, talking about the fullfilment of dreams and a continued journey of learning.

Many of the graduates are heading to universities and colleges in Canada and the USA where Aruban students receive in-state tuition, making studies more affordable. Having earned high school equivalent credentials, the doors into these programs are now wide open.  

My compliments to Leigh Ann Vanderheyden, a warm and supportive professional who is visibly invested in her students.

In his address the current MinEdu confirmed his backing/funding of the program. He agreed that the island’s Dutch education system needs an alternative, and from talking to students I understand that already 100 candidates have been identified for a second chance at a high school diploma for 2019.

This certification will also enhance options for employment if staying in Aruba and facilitate the pursuit of better careers.  From technical trades to business, the options will be improved with a GED diploma, and English Proficiency, will also help open doors.

Students told me that the program entailed a number of formal hours at school, twice weekly, over a full semester. A weekly LAB was offered with additional help in all subjects. They studied at their own pace, and then took the final exams. There was a small charge for the exams, the rest was available free of charge, paid for by the Ministry of Education.

The ISA, with a campus in the neighborhood across the airport, has been providing quality education in Aruba for over 85 years. It started in the early LAGO days and was designed to educate the ex-pat kids in the colony. The primary language of instruction has always been English. Nowadays, the ISA is affiliated with the International School System, ISS, a global network of learning institutions, and enjoys an established relationship with the Office of Overseas Schools – a branch of the US State Department.


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June 06, 2018
Rona Coster