Farm couple gets GEDs, embarks on job hunt

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick

Rosie and Jim Noble of London recently earned their GEDs. Both tallied higher than average scores.

Rosie Noble says she and her husband, Jim, are just normal people. She doesn’t know why anyone would be interested in their story.

Lynne Alexander, director of the London Adult Basic and Literacy Education (ABLE) program, thinks otherwise. She sees the Nobles, who earned their GEDs this month, as an inspiration.

“I want people to see it’s never too late to reach a goal they weren’t able to attain for whatever reason when they were younger,” Alexander said.

Jim, who will be 58 on June 21, and Rosie, 54, live in the London area. Until recently, they both worked for the same farm operation, Jim for 34 years and Rosie for seven years. Changes at the farm have the Nobles looking for new jobs.

“A high school diploma or GED—it’s the first thing they ask for,” said Rosie of potential employers.

Jim, who earned A’s and B’s in high school, dropped out because he was bored and wanted a job.

“Back then, you could find a job without any trouble. As long as you could do the work, you got the work. Nowadays, you have to have a GED,” Jim said.

Rosie dropped out of school to get married.

“That’s what girls did back then. There wasn’t much for girls, besides being a nurse or a teacher,” she said.


Times have changed. To give themselves more options, the Nobles decided to get their GEDs. Rosie did the legwork, starting first with a temporary employment agency and eventually finding London ABLE through the Madison County Job and Family Department.

Funded by the state and federal government, London ABLE provides free instruction to adults ages 16 or older who have previously withdrawn from school and want to improve their basic reading, writing and math skills or prepare for the GED test, post-secondary education, or employment.

The Nobles first met with Alexander at ABLE in early May for an assessment. Rosie then visited the center several times to brush up on her math skills, particularly geometry and algebra.

“Jim wasn’t worried about the math because he uses it every day,” Rosie said. “He’s a number freak. He can tell you how many grains of corn it takes to plant an acre.”

While Rosie wanted extra study time, Jim only visited London ABLE for the initial assessment, the GED pre-test, and the actual GED test. Both passed the test on their first try and scored above average in all categories.

Jim was especially pleased he passed the writing portion because he’s not fond of writing essays.

His essay topic required him to write about a movie or television star who inspires him. Jim chose Walter Brennan who played Amos McCoy on the 1950s television series “The Real McCoys.”

“He was a grandpa and a farmer. He was easy-going, so I can relate to him,” said Jim.

Rosie’s essay topic required her to write about a leader who inspires her.

“I picked Jim. He never gets excited, never yells, never screams. He would be great with kids,” Rosie said.

Now that they can answer “yes” to the question, “Do you have a high school diploma or GED,” the Nobles are on the job hunt. Rosie said she just wants something that pays well. The same goes for Jim. Both are up for work in a new field.

“I’ve done farming all my life. I want to try something different,” Jim said.

The Nobles said they would recommend the London ABLE program to others and urge people to get their GED.

“Get it done now. It’s not that hard,” Rosie advised.

Since last June, 72 adult students have earned their GED through London ABLE. The organization offers its services from 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday and from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday at 179 S. Main St., London. For more information, call 740-852-9843.

ABLE also has satellite centers in West Jefferson at Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library, 270 Lilly Chapel Road, and Mount Sterling Community Center, 164 E. Main St. The West Jefferson hours are 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday; call 614-879-8448. The Mount Sterling hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Monday and Thursday; call 740-869-2453.

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