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For a nominal fee, women who are 19 and older can take classes in Woodhaven that will prepare them for the high school equivalency diploma test (formerly the GED).

Shown from left to right are Sr. Catherine Feeney, executive director of Woodhaven’s School Sisters of Notre Dame Educational Center; Sonia Saleh, development assistant; equivalency diploma graduate Lisette Torres (holding certificate); and Sr. Cathy Stare, curriculum coordinator/registrar.

The classes are held Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the School Sisters of Notre Dame Educational Center, located at 87-04 88th Ave. in Woodhaven.

In order to attend classes this fall, participants must register at the center on Monday, Sept. 8 or Tuesday, Sept. 9, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Classes will begin on Thursday, Sept. 11.

After the $30 registration fee, there is no additional cost to participate in the program. Students take the high school equivalency test when they feel that they are ready.

“When women first come to our center they see the Wall of Fame-pictures of women who have studied here and gotten their high school equivalency diploma.,” said Sr. Cathy Stare, the School Sisters of Notre Dame Educational Center’s program coordinator. “Above all of the pictures are the words, ‘If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.’ That is the first lesson women learn when they come to our center.”

One of the centers recent success stories, Lisette Torres, returned last week to thank the sisters and show them the transcript of her test scores.

“I learned more here than I could have imagined,” Torres said of her time at the center. “I owe it all to the sisters.”

Torres scored very well on the exams, passing them easily, and now that she has her diploma she is continuing her studies at York College with a goal of becoming a registered nurse.

“That little piece of paper was holding me back, but now that I’ve got it I am pursuing my dream,” she said.

“They’re very understanding, very inspiring,” Torres said of the teachers at SSNDEC. “They make you feel that you’re special and they give you confidence. I appreciate everything that they’ve done for me.”

“Job opportunities expand significantly when women receive their diplomas,” Stare said. “Women who come here look to go on to college, get better jobs, and give their children better lives. That diploma helps them do all of that.”

The School Sisters of Notre Dame Educational Center is located close to Jamaica Avenue, Woodhaven Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue. It is accessible via the J train and the Q56 bus (it is one block from Jamaica Avenue) and the Q11, Q52Ltd, Q53Ltd, and QM15 buses along Woodhaven Boulevard (a short walk from the center). It can also be reached via Atlantic Avenue and the Q24 bus.

For more information, call 1- 718-738-0588 or send an email to SSNDEC@aol.com.

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