Kelsey Sham says he hit his stride once he arrived at Main Street Adult Education Centre. Kicked out of secondary school, Sham is the first to admit he had trouble focusing on school in his secondary school years. A more mature learner, he says he had trouble focusing on his studies in the traditional classroom where he felt bombarded by distractions. It was clear that the traditional model of schooling wasn't a fit, but Sham wasn't ready to give up.
"Sooner or later you will regret goofing around," he says.
He wanted a self-paced option where he could manage what he wanted to study based on his own schedule. The independence offered at his new Adult Education Centre was refreshing. Since starting at Main Street, Sham says he's grown interested in attending college.
Main Street Adult Education Centre Principal Adrian Keough agrees that the flexibility of the Adult Ed model is a key draw for many students.
"Our students get automatic and intensive preparation for what it's like to go to college or university," says Keough. "You have to be self-motivated and responsible in order to keep up with the pace in the nine week courses or manage your time very well in the self-paced courses. We provide support and empowerment, but we also recognize that some students need more space to flourish."
Keough says Main Street is also a draw for students because of the unique nature of its courses and its operating hours. Like most other Adult Education Centres, Main Street is open day and night as well as on Saturdays. It boasts a wide range of courses such as English 11 and 12 First Peoples, Calculus 12, Physics 12, Social Justice 12, Financial Accounting 12 and numerous courses which are computer- based.
"There really is something here for everyone," he says.
Sajad Nayebzadah couldn't agree more. The Grade 12 student is in his first semester at Main Street. and studying Calculus. When he was younger he immigrated to Canada from Iran and studied at Burnaby South, but due to a late start, he aged out of secondary school and needed another educational option to complete graduate. He says he liked Adult Education at Main Street because it offers a lot more courses, different schedules and different timing than other schools.
"Nowhere else can you plow through a course in less than 2 months if you are focused," he says pointing out that completing a full four-credit course in most secondary schools takes students 10 months.
In addition to his studies, Nayebzadah also works 50-60 hours a week, doing security at Rogers Arena. He says the flexibility of the course program can't be beat. Plus it is far cheaper for him to take courses like Calculus through the Adult Education system than to take a similar course at Vancouver Community College. Nayebzadah says that armed with his Dogwood, he's hoping to become an engineer.