Your gifts at work: She didn’t graduate high school all those years ago, but with help, she wanted to pick up where she left off

This story comes courtesy of Vickie Barksdale, executive director of the DeSoto Literacy Council, one of United Way’s partner agencies. Images and names are changed for privacy.

Preparing the the GED

Many United Way partner agencies working for stronger education help people prepare for the GED.

Mary Anne had a good life with a husband, children and in recent years, grandchildren – but unfinished work in her past had followed her for many years.

Seeking direction and help, Mary Anne came to the DeSoto Literacy Council, one of our United Way partner agencies. With tears in her eyes, she told the counselor that when she was a teenager many years ago, she had ended her education early to get married. As a result, she never graduated high school. Now she wanted to put that regret behind her by taking the time to study and pass the General Equivalency Degree test (commonly known as the GED).

“She quickly let us know that she was not afraid to work, and that once she made up her mind to do something, nothing could stop her,” the agency counselor said.

With the agency’s help, Mary Anne took a TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) exam to learn where her academic strengths and weaknesses were. The exam showed she needed to improve her math skills.

“We worked on her math skills two or three times a week, for approximately three months,” the agency counselor said. “Then, we thought Mary Anne was ready to take her GED.”

“A few weeks later, Mary Anne came into the classroom, all smiles, and with her diploma in her hand,” the counselor added. “Mary Anne continues stopping by the classroom to encourage our other students. She tells every student, ‘it is much easier to get it while you are young than when you are old like me!’ ”

Mary Anne’s success with the GED test has her considering entering the job market. She is continuing her education in hopes of becoming a medical transcriptionist.

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