Jessica’s Literacy Journey – “If I Can Do It, You Can Do It”

we believe literacy changes lives

Jessica received the phone call two weeks ago. She passed the GED.

Her journey started while Jessica was still in high school. Struggling to read, she received no additional support. Eventually she left high school with a certificate of graduation – but not a high school diploma. I sat down with Jessica to talk about her literacy journey.

How did you feel when you first heard that you had passed the GED?

I felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders. I was in shock, I was shaking. I am still on cloud nine. It didn’t feel real until I received the official letter.

How long have you been working toward your GED?

Well, I started taking the tests last year. I took classes at Adult Basic Education on and off since 2002 to work on my skills, to get my assessment scores up to show that I was ready for the official GED test. This time, I had great teachers and tutors. Before that, I was working in a class to improve my reading, but when the GED test changed in 2002, no one told me. I had to start over again.

When I was in high school, I was pushed out. I applaud schools for having better programs today, but I had no help when I struggled in high school in the 1980s. Really, it started back then.

And during this time you worked full-time. Were there other obstacles you had to overcome?

Lack of self-confidence. I didn’t think I could pass the tests. Pat (Director at Marshall ABE) told me: “Don’t say that. You can do it.”

How did working with a tutor help you?

My first tutor really helped me with my writing. She showed me basic sentence structure and helped me understand how it all fits together. My second tutor continued to help me understand the mechanics of writing. They helped me think I could do this.

What do you plan to do next?

Well, I left my books here in case anyone else can use them. I’d like to go traveling. Maybe work as a tour guide somewhere.

Anything you wish to say to others who are working toward their GED?

If I can do it, you can do it!

If you are interested in learning more about how you can support adult learners like Jessica, please consider becoming a tutor or donate here to support our program. ~ Charlotte Harris-Hoffstrom, Community Outreach Coordinator

Note: Jessica’s name has been changed at the request of the adult learner.

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