Admissions Counselor Uses Experience to Help Sedgwick County Students Find ‘Freedom Through Education’

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – In Sedgwick County in 2019, around 45,000 adults did not have a high school diploma or GED.

One in five adults was considered to be functionally illiterate, meaning that they could not read after primary school.

In Grades 3 through 12, about seven in ten students were taking below-grade tests in math, English, or both in 2018.

These statistics, according to the executives of KANSEL.

The nonprofit Wichita aims to provide academic and economic opportunities through literacy.

For a former student, she wants others to know that it’s never too late to continue with an education, no matter where life has taken you.

AJ Hamous is a former intravenous drug user who was facing 16 years for distribution. Part of her probation was getting her GED, which led her to KANSEL. It was around this time that she got sober and got to work.

“In fact, I was able to graduate a lot sooner than I thought,” Hamous said. “It took me about two and a half to three months. “

Shortly after graduating, Hamous returned to KANSEL as a volunteer, eventually becoming the admissions counselor.

“I actually helped paint the office. It is currently my office, without knowing that it would be my office, ”said Hamous.

She now uses her experience to help students facing adversity in their education.

“We have the ability to work with everyone,” Hamous said.

“We have people who will actively come, and then all of a sudden life is going to happen, and they have to stop. Our program is designed for that, ”Hamous said.

Those at KANSEL say it’s something that has an impact on the whole community.

“Being able to uplift your neighbors and get them to do what they can do at work means they earn higher wages, means they are better customers for business, means they can take out home loans, it also means ending generations of poverty.

Thomas Montiel, Executive Director of KANSEL

As for Hamous, she says that freedom through education has given her more than she would have thought possible.

“I’m almost halfway through my baccalaureate. I was able to buy my own house. I now have my own car, ”Hamous said.

KANSEL serves students from a variety of backgrounds, including students who have had to drop out to care for a sick relative.

Others are older students looking to graduate from high school.

English and GED courses cost $ 165 per year.

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