Monday, November 1, 2010

ABE Classes Help Student Earn GED, Publish Book

James Compton is like a lot of teenagers. He enjoys swimming, using Facebook, and playing video games. Unlike most teens his age, he started college at 16 and published his first book at 17.

In November of 2009, James earned his GED diploma after taking Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes at Rio Salado College’s Orangewood site. Less than a year later, the Glendale resident, now 17 years-old, is reviewing author’s copies of his children’s book, "Cat-Boy vs. the Fatal Game Glitch."

“I’ve wanted to write a book for as long as I could remember,” said James, who wrote the book under the pen name Michael Morgan, a combination of his middle names. "So I wrote a story which included two of my favorite things – my cat and my Game-Boy."

According to James, the video-game-infused journey makes the book relatable to younger audiences and fun to read. The story, which is intended for readers ages 8 to 14, follows the adventures of Cat-Boy as he battles a variety of outlandish characters.

“Some of my favorite books include the series Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan, the Jack Sparrow series by Rob Kidd, and the Mossflower series by Brian Jacques,” said James, who is an avid reader.

“He has enjoyed reading and writing from a young age,” said James’ mother, Elizabeth, who home-schooled James.

“The public high school wasn’t the right fit for him, so I taught him at home,” said Elizabeth. “A lot of my teaching techniques included writing assignments, and that helped him hone his style and technique.”

While James was taught most of his basic education at home, his mother confessed that she needed additional help with math and civics. And that is when she turned to Rio Salado College’s ABE program to continue preparing him for the GED tests.

Rio Salado’s ABE program helps students improve their basic reading, English, writing and math skills and civics. These classes are designed to help students become more self-sufficient, improve job skills and lay the foundation for a better future.

For James, the ABE program did more than help him earn his GED. It also prepared him for life in a traditional classroom, where the teen dreams of career plans and more Cat-Boy stories.

“I want to pursue a lot of things, but I definitely want to write forever,” said James. “I’m working on a follow-up to "Cat-Boy vs. the Fatal Game Glitch,” and have ideas for the third book, too. I hope it will become a series and would like to see it become a movie.”

The 121-page book is available for purchase at local bookstores and through several online bookstores.

For more information about our Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes, contact Rio Salado College.