Adult Learner Success
Featured Adult Learner Success Stories for August 2019
Annette became interested in the phlebotomist program at New Bridge workforce training center in Cleveland in the fall of 2016. She began attending the Aspire KeyTrain remediation course to improve the necessary math and reading skills for the phlebotomy program. After several months of diligent hard work, she passed the WorkKeys test and was accepted into the phlebotomy program at NewBridge. Annette successfully finished the phlebotomy…
DeRyanna “Rye” Spear
DeRyanna “Rye” Spear told her grandkids she wanted to get her GED® to demonstrate anything is possible if they set their mind to it. Rye started attending CLCBH in October 2017. She was placed on medical leave for a back injury. Her educational journey had challenges. Growing up in an alcoholic family contributed to school challenges. She had a baby girl her senior year, putting education on hold to work. She had two additional children; family was her priority.
Andrea is originally from Ecuador. From an early age, she was very involved in extracurricular activities related to dance and film. Due to years of related travel and competitions, she did not earn her high school diploma before moving to the United States. Andrea knew she needed to obtain that credential in order to improve her employment opportunities and to fulfill her dream of studying film so she could become a filmmaker.
Allegany College of Maryland Adult Basic Education
Natasa migrated to the US in 1995 with her husband, a baby, and another on the way. She had a good education in Serbia, but knew no English. She lost her unborn baby and nearly lost her own life due to language barriers. Her young family relocated from Hagerstown to Cumberland. Many obstacles stood in her way of success: isolation from anyone she knew, limited transportation, and the cultural and language differences. She was determined to assimilate to the culture and be successful in society.
After becoming a mother for the second time, getting a high school diploma seemed out of reach. I was eager to get back to work but my boyfriend urged that I go back to school if I was ever going to make more than minimum wage. I knew this was the best decision for my family and I, but it would not be that simple. We had one car, one income, and two children to figure out care for while I would be in school. I also had to travel 50 miles a day to get to and from school.
Kenneth Ludolph, Jr.
In 2016, Kenneth Lee Ludolph, Jr. got into some trouble and it sent him to prison. While he was there, he became very determined to earn his GED® diploma and do something meaningful with his life. Kenneth faithfully studied for his test – first at a class at the Oklahoma State Reformatory and then at the OCTC halfway house, and he passed his high school equivalency test in just a few months. Next, he attended a Career Success Class where he earned a Certificate of…
Maggie & Arthur Johnson
Maggie and AJ live very rurally and neither one of them had driver’s licenses when I met them. Neither of them worked, and they struggled to get by on a very inconsistent and almost non-existent income. They have a daughter, Zophia. Both of them had learning differences that had made it difficult for them to learn in school in the traditional way, and they had become very frustrated in school, to the point of having a choice between dropping out or getting expelled.
Lake Region State College—Region III Adult Learning Center
Devoted to make a difference and a better life, MorningStar perseveres over the challenges she’s faced. She dropped out during her junior year of high school, making some poor life choices. It didn’t take long for her to find out that being independent and on your own as a teenager isn’t easy. “I was 18 and on my own. It was a struggle at times. I tried going back to school twice.” MorningStar added the job title of parent when her son was born. “It was finally time to get things together.”
Seminole State College of Florida
Due to instability in her home, Jasmine had to move away from her parents at the age of fourteen. She was forced to put her education on the back burner during that time. She did end up completing an online high school program but came to find out it was not properly accredited. Unfortunately, Jasmine was unable to use that diploma for applying to colleges, applying for jobs, etc.
Rio Salado College-Thomas
David told me that “procrastination is a disease, if you want something bad enough, you need to be willing to work for it.” David had always dreamed of getting his high school equivalency diploma and having a career but never had the educational support to motivate him towards his goals. Suffering from procrastination and the lack of motivation, he decided to begin the adult education program at Rio Salado College. David stated that this was the best decision he has ever made.
Next Step Learning Center
Jesus arrived at Next Step Learning Center in 2004 with a lot to overcome. He wanted to find work and knew that an education was essential; however, having only elementary level reading and math skills made employment almost impossible. “I went to high school, but I did not speak English,” Jesus reflects. “I could not understand the teachers, and I could not communicate. I was alone and became demoralized. I said to myself, ‘I can’t do this,’ and went a different route – a bad one.”
Yolanda Porter is a FastTrack success story. After dropping out of high school, Yolanda worked nights for 15 years doing housekeeping jobs in hotels and hospitals. She tried several traditional HiSET programs in the St. Louis area, but with her work schedule and their attendance requirements, she was never able to complete them.
The St. Louis Community College offers an accelerated path called FastTrack for students to earn their high school equivalency. This program has flexible hours, provides individual tutoring, and tailors the HiSET curriculum to each student. Yolanda signed on, stayed committed and passed her HiSET in 10 weeks.
With her HiSET Yolanda has a new job at a local hospital and is currently taking classes at St. Louis Community College to enhance her skills in pharmacy technology. She has better working hours, increased pay, and access to higher education. “I entered the program with very little confidence in myself. I didn’t believe I was capable of passing, but your wonderful staff helped me. Not only did I leave the program with my HiSET, I left believing that I could achieve anything I put my mind to.”
Read stories of how adult education changed lives.
Due to a variety of circumstances, Amanda became a single parent working low paying jobs and barely managing, even after obtaining government assistance.
Rachel De Vaughn
Adult Learner of the Year
Educate & Elevate advocate, Rachel De Vaughan, Ph.D., knows the power of adult education in reshaping one’s career path. Indeed, without support from educators at Mississippi Gulf Community College…
Mr. Musgrave never finished school, but instead ran off to Korea…
When Zenaida first came to Genesis Center, she did not know she had a gift as a writer…
Teresa, an immigrant from Mexico, had both a strong desire and a sincere need to learn English…
Adult Learner of the Year
Faced with a variety of life circumstances, Megan Linzy suddenly found herself…
Marc often passed by the pharmacy department and pictured himself working there…
Louis is a former GED student who started at Rio Salado College Bridge Pathways…
Mr. Musgrave has an amazing story in that he never finished school, but instead ran off to Korea with the U.S. Marines where he was an aircraft electrician and an engine mechanic. He started flying with the Marines and over the next 55 years accumulated 18,000 hours in more than 160 aircraft.
Using adult education as a catalyst for change, Mr. Musgrave obtained a GED® diploma and went on to become the only astronaut to have flown in all five space shuttles resulting in six space flights. He has earned seven graduate degrees and 20 honorary doctorate degrees.
“Funding for adult education is critical to our nation’s success,” said Musgrave. “We must include everyone in helping them to achieve their educational goals, and we need to prepare them for life, for a career, and for college no matter where they are in their educational journey.”
Rachel De Vaughn
Educate & Elevate advocate, Rachel De Vaughan, Ph.D., knows the power of adult education in reshaping one’s career path. Indeed, without support from educators at Mississippi Gulf Community College, she may have never made the transition from a respected McDonald’s franchise manager, with no high school diploma, to a state education director with a higher-education-focused Ph.D. from William Carey University.
De Vaughan recalls how bleak her future looked in her teenage years as family financial hardships made it difficult to focus on her academic studies.
“At a very young age, I was burdened with heavy responsibilities in caring for my younger siblings. I struggled in school because I was so tired I just wanted to sleep. My teachers were always frustrated with me because I never completed my homework,” De Vaughan says.
“Even if I did find a friend, we weren’t able to do the normal things that friends do because I could never afford to go anywhere when I was invited. So when my mom, gave me a choice of quitting school to work full-time; I chose to quit. No longer did I have to worry about what I was going to wear, or sit through another Algebra class, that I had failed twice. I started working at McDonald’s for $3.35/hr. and took advantage of every education and workforce program they offered while never looking back,” she adds.
But her career in food services took a big detour when a life-changing event in 1997 inspired her to achieve education goals that had long gone unfulfilled. She obtained here high school diploma and put herself on an educational path that resulted in an associate’s degree; bachelor’s degree; and, a successful and ongoing career stint in public education that has included the obtainment of a Ph.D.
“After almost 20 years working for McDonald’s restaurants throughout the U.S., and even abroad, I was ready to try something different for my life. So, I pulled that forgotten dream out of that secret place deep inside of me, and I applied for a teacher’s license. Wow! Here I was, teaching in a school, a real school, with real students. I was recognized both by my school and the district as a great educator several times,” says De Vaughan, now assistant state director for the Office of Adult Education in Mississippi.
Due to a variety of circumstances, I became a single parent working low paying jobs and barely managing, even after obtaining government assistance. I was without a high school diploma and had no higher education. There are not many options at this point for elevating yourself except to work at obtaining the credentials needed to get a better job and outlook on life.
I first came to HCC in 2015 and started with their online GED® study course. This was easiest for me since I could do it from home. After passing my GED® test I set my sights on higher education. I decided on the CMAA certification, certified medical administrative assistant. This is a noncredit program for busy adults. I was approved for a scholarship for this course and started immediately. After obtaining my GED® credential and completing my CMAA program I am happy to say that I am looking forward to my internship at Upper Chesapeake Hospital. This is where I hope to land my first job and continue up the line of promotion thru higher education.
I am also looking forward to showing my daughter a stronger, more independent role model. None of this would be possible without the adult education programs offered by Harford Community College. Without them there would be no hope for everyone who finds themselves without proper education later in life. Education is the key!
When Zenaida first came to Genesis Center, she didn’t know she had a gift. A talented writer, with a natural sense of rhythm and an imagistic mind, Z had gone 47 years without ever hearing anyone say, “You are intelligent,” or “You are a good writer.” But she is.
Through her writing, one discovers that there is quite a bit of depth to this woman—wisdom wrought from painful matters of having survived physical, sexual, and psychological abuse
Thanks to the flexible structure of the ESOL program for College and Career Readiness at Genesis Center, which affords the Learning Facilitator the freedom to tailor lessons to the individual needs of learners, as well as the time to offer office hours, Zenaida was given an ear. Having someone to listen, to encourage, and to challenge her, Zenaida blossomed.
Z’s appetite for learning seems to grow with every page she turns. The seed was planted when she read a short poem called “Imagine The Angels of Bread” by the great poet Martin Espada. The voice of the downtrodden rising up and becoming empowered to imagine feeding empty mouths with bread spoke to her.
Zenaida is still blossoming. Recently, she submitted a short story to a journal for publication. She has become a mentor to other students, who gather around her, asking for advice on their own writing. She has developed an educational plan, which includes going to community college, while volunteering at an organization that helps battered women. Above all, she has laid the foundation for being a productive member of society, one who contributes in many ways to the fabric of American culture.
ADULT LEARNER OF THE YEAR
Faced with a variety of life circumstances, Megan Linzy suddenly found herself as a middle-aged wife and mother without a high school credential, holding several part-time, night-shift jobs in an attempt to contribute to her family’s modest income. Undiagnosed in her formative years, Megan discovered in adulthood that she suffered from a profound case of dyslexia, creating a significant barrier to her learning ability. In addition, Megan suffers from diagnosed short-term memory loss.
Megan first entered the Eastern Iowa Community College’s high school equivalency program in 2010. After two failed attempts, she enrolled for her third attempt at the program in early 2013. She entered the program, performing at a 6th grade level in reading and math. At this point, it was her personal goal to graduate from high school with her son.
Upon her enrollment, Megan immediately began working with teachers, tutors, and program administrators to develop means of coping with and overcoming her learning barriers. She fully committed herself to her studies and to fighting her way to academic success. She juggled low-paying waitressing jobs with her school work, consuming all of her waking hours.
After just a few short months, Megan celebrated her victory over learning disabilities as she completed her GED® credential. She proudly walked the stage at graduation, realizing her goal of attaining her high school diploma the same year that her son graduated. She was not finished.
In fall 2013, Megan enrolled in her first credit classes at Scott Community College. Making a sound decision to begin with foundation-level coursework, she enrolled in math and writing courses to lay the groundwork for future success. As a first-generation college student, Megan joined Trio Support Services to take advantage of the additional resources available to her through that program. In recognition of her dedication and ability to overcome the most difficult of circumstances, Megan was offered a part-time job in the EICC adult education and literacy program as an evening assistant where she provides top-notch customer service and personal empathy to current students. Megan also volunteers her time to tutor adult education students who are struggling in their studies.
Megan made an early decision in her college career that she would like to give back to the field that was helping her dig her way out of her circumstantial hole. She set her sights on a degree in education, with an ultimate goal of teaching in the very program where she began her ascent.
As if her personal obstacles weren’t big enough, Megan’s mother is in the late stages of a battle with cancer. Megan is her mother’s primary caregiver and has added this responsibility to the list of potential distractions to her academic success. However, in the same winning spirit that she has demonstrated time and time again, she has figured out a way to manage this bitter and emotional piece of her life with amazing grace and fortitude without compromising her academic success.
During her time at Scott Community College, Megan has been recognized as an outstanding student by Trio and is a recipient of the college’s President’s Award. She has been asked to share her story with current students, the college board of trustees, and even at the state level. Her personal story is compelling and engaging, delivering a message of hope and confidence to students who suffer from any kind of self-doubt. She has demonstrated amazing personal tenacity in overcoming multiple obstacles to her academic progress and has done so with spectacular results.
In May 2017, Megan will graduate from SCC with an associate of arts degree with academic honors. She has been accepted into a bachelor of arts in education program at Upper Iowa University, which she will begin in the fall.
It is with great pride and confidence in her ability to overcome the most devastating of obstacles that I can say that I look forward to the day that Megan will join our program as a high school equivalency instructor. I believe that she is most deserving of the 2017 COABE Outstanding Learner of the Year award and I look forward to celebrating with her as she adds this accolade to her growing list of achievements.
Teresa, an immigrant from Mexico, had both a strong desire and a sincere need to learn English. However, as a mother of two growing children, she worked long hours at a laundromat where her ever-changing schedule made it impossible to attend classes regularly. She began working as a janitor for the Leander School District, but with such a hectic schedule and a long commute, she still could not attend classes regularly enough to enjoy any real progress with her English ability.
Cell-Ed, an over-the-phone English program, was offered to Teresa (and working parents just like her) through the non-profit Community Action of Texas, in partnership with the Leander SD. Cell-Ed is a multi-level, automated English course focusing on real-life dialogues, situations, phrases and grammar that is accessible 24 hours a day by any mobile phone. Teresa began studying immediately, citing that the self-paced, always-accessible course was exactly what she needed. She dove in head-first, completing lesson after lesson. She stated that the course felt as though it was designed just for her, covering topics that she could easily relate to. She even began encouraging people in her life to start learning English with Cell-Ed!
Leander School District made an offer to all the janitors that if they could attend one class per week and study regularly with Cell-Ed on their own time, their resume would be put at the top of the list for a lead staff position. Teresa nervously accepted the challenge and studied even more rigorously than before. In a short time she was interviewed (in all English) and was offered the job! Thanks to her determination and the always-accessible Cell-Ed, Teresa enjoys stable hours and higher pay.
Marc Pomerleau resides in Gardena, California. At one time, he worked at Torrance Memorial Hospital as a patient transporter. While working at the hospital, he often passed by the pharmacy department and pictured himself working there. Marc started to research which school had a program that would be nearby and convenient for him after work. He found out that the Levy Educational Center of Torrance Adult School was located less than a half mile away and offered a Pharmacy Technician Program.
Marc Pomerleau was able to enroll in Torrance Adult School’s Pharmacy Technician Program, taught by Leticia Wang. This program is a twelve-week long, fast-paced course. Upon completing the course, Marc would need to complete an additional 120 hours of externship at a local pharmacy. After finishing the course and the 120 hours of externship, Marc would receive a certificate from the school and be qualified to be licensed by the California State Board of Pharmacy. While enrolled in the course, Marc devoted his time and effort and received a perfect score on all his tests and classwork. After the course, Marc was sent to a local Walgreens pharmacy to complete his externship.
During his externship at Walgreens, Marc was so highly regarded that they recommended him to be hired. However, Marc wanted to work in a hospital instead of a retail pharmacy so that he could work in either the inpatient pharmacy or outpatient pharmacy. Marc applied at Harbor/UCLA Medical Center and also passed the Los Angeles County test with a perfect score! The supervisors were so impressed by his perfect score and his externship recommendation that he was hired in the inpatient pharmacy.
Louis Moore is a former GED student who started at Rio Salado College Bridge Pathways in July 2013 at the age of 17 continuing his education from where he left off in his junior year of high school. On December 29th, 2016, Louis was hit by a truck and lost a majority of his memory two hours after being only one point short of getting his GED. Suffering from amnesia, he had to take a hiatus from school for seven months.
Louis has always dreamed to be a music producer. So, he is planning to study Audio and Visual production. He knew that he needed to achieve his GED first. But developing memory loss had prevented him from his dreams to come true. When Louis decided to go back to school after a seven-month intermission in his education, Rio Salado College Bridge Pathways program welcomed him with open arms. He enrolled in classes and pursued is the goal of obtaining his GED from exactly where he left off. With motivation and support, his instructors were helping him with his educational needs to achieve his goals and to be more and more successful in his life.
Despite dealing with a concussion and not having all of his memory back after the accident, Louis earned his GED in less than two months in October 2017 after his second enrollment. Receiving his GED, Louis found a better job. With all his efforts and accomplishments, not only is he able to help his family in major ways, he is a perfect role model for his younger siblings for success. In addition, Louis will walk for Rio Salado College Bridge Pathways program in May 2018 as a graduate.