With years of experience and a passion for helping others, Steve Graves has joined Enterprise State Community College as its adult education coordinator.
ESCC offers free adult education classes to help individuals receive their GED, the Alabama Career Readiness Certification, learn English as a Second Language (ESL) and more.
In his words, Graves describes adult education as “any type of education that fulfills the needs of a certain age student” and “far more than earning a GED.”
“We tend to think of Adult Education as starting after high school,” he said. “Accepting this, we can say Adult Education is any type of post-secondary education. Every student attending ESCC is an adult learner. Employees that attend work-related seminars are participating in a form Adult Education.
“In Adult Education, we help students attain a GED, which opens doors to better employment, military service and continuing their education at the college level. We provide opportunities for individuals to learn the English language so they can better adapt to our culture in this country.
“Adult education is ever changing to meet the needs of the students.”
His passion for adult education began after he was required to take a course on the subject during his undergraduate years at Auburn University. He continued to take elective classes in adult education throughout his undergraduate and master’s degree programs. He later proudly provided adult education opportunities in the Enterprise area during his 31-year tenure at Enterprise High School.
“While serving as assistant principal/career technical director at Enterprise High School, I had the opportunity to offer an Adult Education class through our Career Technical Education Department,” he said. “After retiring from Enterprise High School, I started working with the Alfred Saliba Family Service Center in Dothan. I served as program coordinator for a program which partnered with Wallace Community College’s Adult Education Department. We provided tutoring, financial assistance and support to students ages 16-24 enrolled in the GED classes. During the five years I was there, we helped 73 students earn their GED.”
At ESCC, Graves said he will strive to “meet the goals of our community.”
“I want the ESCC Adult Education Department to be ‘Ray of Hope’ for those individuals who desire to improve their education level, employment opportunities, personal or daily use skills, and other skills that help to make them the type of person they desire to be,” he said.
With his personal connections to Enterprise and ESCC, Graves said he is “vested” in providing opportunities to adult learners in the community. Becoming a member of the ESCC family, he said, is “like coming home,” and he is glad to join the team here at the college.
“I spent three years here after the tornado destroyed Enterprise High School,” he said. “The ESCC family opened their doors and welcomed us into their home. I made some dear friends during this time. Many of them are still here.
“The opportunity to come and work with President Rodgers and Dean Long was a definite motivation to come to ESCC. We worked together at EHS during an extremely difficult time. I know first-hand the type of educators and men they are. This played a major part in my decision to delay retirement. I am very excited to be at ESCC.”
President Matt Rodgers said Graves is a “great man with a huge heart” and he is happy Graves is a part of the ESCC team.
“We are fortunate to have Steve join our team,” Rodgers said. “He is highly respected in this community and has a true love for helping people. His experience at the Saliba Center in Dothan made him a great fit for this position at ESCC.
“Steve is a great man with a huge heart. He will help many people in the communities we serve to further their education.”