Friends of Literacy's LEARN NOW program offers free GED/HiSET classes to the one-in-ten Knox County adults without a high school diploma or equivalent. Classes are offered in neighborhood locations which are not already served, thus providing more options and increasing access to education. Currently, FOL hosts classes at four sites: Fountain City United Methodist Church, Pond Gap Elementary School, South Knoxville Elementary, and at the Friends of Literacy office at 900 E. Hill Avenue. The class at Pond Gap is made possible through a partnership with the University of Tennessee as a University Assisted Community School, and the class at South Knoxville is a part of Great Schools Partnership's Community Schools programs. Classes at all locations are held two days a week and meet for a total of four hours per week. These sites utilize volunteers as tutors, classroom aids, and/or lead teachers.

To learn more about FOL’s LEARN NOW program or to enroll in classes, please contact us at 865-549-7007 or email us at

Meet Richard: FOL LEARN NOW Graduate

Approaching his 61st birthday, Richard became increasingly bothered by the fact that his wall of certificates – including a baptismal certificate and his ordination diploma  was missing something very important: A high school diploma.

Inspired by a grandson who had earned a GED a year earlier, Richard set out to complete his vision of a wall that included a framed GED certificate.

A yard sign directed him to the Friends of Literacy hotline and enrollment in FOL’s Learn Now class at Pond Gap Elementary School. Richard gives a lot of credit to his great teachers for his GED achievement in a matter of months.  

It was Richard’s ability to visualize an end product – including a framed GED certificate on his wall – that spurred him on.  And he set an excellent example for his classmates. “If these young people working on their GEDs could only envision that framed certificate on their own walls,” assures Richard, “they’d get there.”


Meet Brandon: FOL LEARN NOW Student

Brandon is a Friends of Literacy Learn Now student at Pond Gap. Born in South Carolina, Brandon grew up in Knoxville and attended Austin East High School until he dropped out at age 16 when he was in the 11th grade.  

Now the busy 30-year-old father of twins, talented musician, church music director, and 40-hour-a-week temporary worker in an industrial job, Whitaker is committed to increasing his future options and opportunities by earning his GED.

Brandon (left) receiving a student achievement award from Friends of Literacy Board President, Mick Reed

Brandon (left) receiving a student achievement award from Friends of Literacy Board President, Mick Reed