On a highway ad, he spied it. Got his GED. Glad he tried it.
Fifteen different sets of rhyming phrases will soon be seen on yellow roadside signs around Letcher County in an effort by the Letcher County Adult Education program to encourage people without a high school diploma to take the General Educational Development (GED) test.
“We hope that by putting a fun slant to our message, folks will want to find out more about getting their GED and will pick up the phone and call us,” said S.J. Brennan, lead instructor of Letcher County Adult Education.
Brennan said she and some other instructors at Letcher County Adult Education wanted to try a different approach to getting people thinking about the GED.
“We’re always looking for new ways to reach more people and convince them to take advantage of our service — especially studying for the GED,” said Brennan. “We were brainstorming different advertising possibilities and the idea of doing something similar to the Burma- Shave signs of the late 1920s, early 1960s came up.”
The brushless shaving cream brand became famous with its rhyming poems, which were displayed on sets of billboard signs throughout the United States beginning in 1925 to boost shaving cream sales.
An example of an early Burma-Shave rhyme used on a set of six signs is “Every shaver; now can snore; six more minutes; than before; by using; Burma- Shave.”
Richard Smith, an instructor with Letcher County Adult Education, studied old Burma-Shave rhymes and created similar ones to entice people to call Letcher County Adult Education to learn more about working toward their GED.
Students and staff at the adult education center voted on the rhymes they liked the best.
Examples of signs that may be seen around the county:
• A GED will please your wife, her pa, maybe even your mother-in-law.
• Out of luck? Up the creek? Is it a GED that you seek?
• A GED makes good sense. Lifetime security. Little expense.
Permission was requested from private property owners throughout the county to post the signs on their property.
“We will be moving the signs around the county periodically and we welcome any property owner who’d like to ‘host’ a set of signs to contact us,” said Brennan.
Brennan said signs have already been placed in Campbell’s Branch and Linefork.
Letcher County Adult Education, which is state and federally funded, helped 29 people obtain a GED last year.
“If you didn’t finish high school, there are free classes offered at several sites in Letcher County as well as online to help you prepare to take the GED test,” said Brennan. “We also provide adult literacy services to help adults learn to read.”
Brennan said high school graduates who want to improve reading, math or communication skills, may be eligible for free adult education services.
“These services include assistance in preparing for college entrance exams and strengthening skills for college-level writing, math, humanities, and sciences,” said Brennan. “Our center also helps eligible students prepare for employment and prove their work readiness by earning a Kentucky Employability Certificate or Kentucky Manufacturing Skills Standards.”
Brennan said one-on-one tutoring is available as well as small classes held at different locations throughout the county. Letcher County Adult Education recently started a six-week class at the Letcher County Jail.
Letcher County Adult Education is located on the Whitesburg campus of the Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. For more information, call 633-9617.
“We hope folks enjoy reading the signs as we put them up throughout the county,” said Brennan. “Beyond that, we hope that folks pick up the phone and call us to begin work to earn their GED.”