'I did it'

Monday, May 19, 2008
Claudale Armstrong is believed to be the first Marshall County Jail inmate to earn his GED while incarcerated.

Inmate passes GED,

may be a first locally

A Marshall County Jail inmate has apparently achieved something that no other inmate there has ever done while confined as an inmate in Lewisburg.

"Claudale Armstrong passed the GED," Marshall County's Adult Learning Center Administrator Sarah Campbell announced to Jail Administrator Sam Bragg in an e-mail last week.

"I did it," Armstrong wrote on the e-mail print out that he released during an interview this week when the inmate listed the people who helped him study and assisted him in other ways to achieve his goal.

Armstrong was the first inmate who last year asked if the jail could establish a course of study for inmates so they could take the General Educational Development test. Others asked, too, and a pretest to reveal what the inmates knew and what they needed to be taught was administered late last year.

Previously, defendants had been "ordered by the court to get their GED and that was done by furlough," Bragg said after seven inmates took the pretest. "Getting a GED was part of probation" not something conducted during incarceration.

Since Bragg and various other county officials are unaware of any previous GED program conducted in the county jail here, it's believed that Armstrong was the first to pass the test.

"His diploma ... could arrive anytime up to about three months," Campbell told Bragg who gave Armstrong the printout.

Armstrong's average score was 478, according to Campbell. His total of 2,390 included a score of 450 for language arts and writing, 490 for social studies, 440 in science, 570 on reading, and 440 on math.

Beyond a desire to better himself, Armstrong has credited his daughter as the chief source of motivation for him to get his GED. Shortly after the first time he heard her say Pick up a copy of May 16 edition of the Marshall County Tribune for full story.