LONG BEACH >> The Long Beach School for Adults celebrated 100 years on Saturday, a milestone some feared the recent recession would keep them from reaching.
A group of about 30 faculty members and former students, some who have been with the program from the late 1960s, gathered in the school’s auditorium to share their experiences and hopes for the future.
Many thanks were made to the teachers and faculty members who have made adult school a springboard to success.
However, getting to this point wasn’t easy.
“This celebration today means a lot because we made it through a very tough period these last few years,” said Janet Cassara, English as a Second Language coordinator. “The program was once thriving but started to diminish in 2008.”
With cuts that took a $4.9-million budget to zero by 2011, LBSA was forced to rely solely on state funding and increased registration and class fees, while also losing programs like its High School Diploma program.
Classes that were once free now cost roughly $250 to $350 per semester. The school offers such classes as animal care, job skills, clerical and computer classes and a certified nursing assistant program. More than a thousand students a year earn their GED certificates through LBSA programs.
“Despite the budget crisis and the many obstacles faced, the program has continued to remain because of dedicated people in the community and the valuable teachers,” said LBSA Principal Matt Saldana, who is also principal of Beach High School. The two schools share facilities.