Governor tells Carbondale education program to ‘hang in there’ (PHOTOS)


Ryan Michalesko

Gov. Bruce Rauner plays a round of pingpong Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, during his visit to Carbondale High School’s Rebound program. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

By Diamond Jones

Gov. Bruce Rauner promised Friday to assist a state-funded adult education program in Carbondale that faced closure earlier this year because of the state’s budget impasse.

That program is called Carbondale Community High School Rebound, which awards high school diplomas and GED certificates to students ages 16 and up. The lack of financial resources made managing the program difficult in recent months, said Sandra Snowden, Rebound’s adult educational program coordinator.

“Not knowing what our funds are going to be makes it hard for me to try and get the district to hire another teacher with the possibility of having to lay off the rest of the staff,” Snowden said.


The governor was joined by other local elected officials, including Mayor Mike Henry and Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Mt. Vernon, for a tour through the main floor of the building as classes took place. Rauner met with Rebound employees, students and graduates of the program, and even made some time for a quick game of pingpong with one of the students.


After the tour, Rauner called the program inspiring and told administrators, teachers and students to “hang in there” for more resources to come.

More than 200 students are enrolled in the program, which is designed to help students meet education goals while also enhancing self-growth and planning realistic career paths, Snowden said.

“We get the reputation that we take in all the bad kids,” Snowden said. “That’s not true. We take in kids who are unable to succeed in public schools and we help the reach success here.”

Donovan Burk, a Carbondale native who graduated through Rebound in 2013, said the program opened his eyes to a lot after he struggled to stay out of trouble in high school.

Now a sophomore studying elementary education at John A. Logan College, Burk said it was nerve racking to come face-to-face with Rauner. He hoped to gain knowledge about the governor’s administration and the efforts taken to keep alternative schools up and running.


“To see and speak to Rauner was amazing, because it’s not common you see a high official come to places like this,” Burk said. “It’s nice to see the want to get an understanding of what this program is about.”

Staff writer Diamond Jones can be reached at [email protected].

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