“I’m so proud to be a part of this program,” Norgaard said. “I love coming to work every day. We’re finding solutions for adults who are looking to expand their knowledge and skills, whether for their own personal achievement or to advance in the workforce.”
To celebrate 75 years, Liberty Adult Education, a division of the Liberty Union High School District, is inviting the public to an anniversary party on Tuesday, April 24 at 6 p.m. at the main campus, 929 Second St. in Brentwood. Dignitaries from the local, state and national levels will be on hand to offer congratulations while guests are invited to tour the classrooms and learn more about the program that over the years has produced thousands of success stories.
Liberty Adult Education serves more than 3,000 students and offers more than 100 courses, from GED preparation to medical-records management to beginning guitar. But in 1937 it all started with one lone course: an English as a Second Language, designed to support the influx of immigrants moving to the Brentwood area.
Held on the Liberty High School campus, the class was the centerpiece of the adult education program for many years. Liberty Adult Education continues to offer multiple ESL sessions each season, and the courses are as popular as ever.
The courses offered through the program have always been based on community need. Today, a variety of business and medical certifications are available through the program, but most people don’t know that during World War II, Liberty Adult Education managed a civilian defense program and offered military support classes. To help locals practice their shooting skills, Liberty Adult Education operated a shooting range at the Liberty High School metal shop.
“The history of this program would surprise people,” said Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services Gene Clare. “Seventy-five years is such a grand accomplishment. What we do is bring people hope for the future by bringing them lifelong learning opportunities. We adapt to provide the classes that the community needs.”
The main focus of Liberty Adult Education is the promotion of literacy in the home. To highlight its mission, the anniversary party will feature a book giveaway. Guests are welcome to select a book from a collection, which includes hundreds of volumes suitable for all readers, from beginners to adults. The collection will also include English and Spanish literature.
While the program offers an abundance of occupational courses such as typing and record keeping, it also offers enrichment classes such as Latin cardio dancing, yoga and painting, plus classes for senior citizens such as arts and crafts, conversational Spanish and photography.
“It’s unfortunate that when some people think of adult education, they think it’s just for no-goods who never finished high school,” Norgaard said. “There is this negative stigma, but it’s not true. The Liberty Adult Education program is for people who want to better themselves. We’re giving people the opportunity to gain the skills to fulfill their dreams. Maybe that goal is completing their GED or maybe it’s doing a headstand in yoga.”
Liberty Adult Education invites course suggestions from the public and also seeks potential instructors who wish to share their skills with the community. For more information about the Liberty Adult Education program, call 925-634-2565 or visit www.libertyadulted.org.