Megan Gregg, Graduate
It can be difficult enough for anyone to make it through high school or pursue a GED. For Megan Gregg, the obstacles that prevented her from completing her education came not only from the outside world, but from within herself as well – literally. Her congenital heart conditioned worsened as a teenager, causing her to miss weeks and weeks of school and leaving her unable to graduate. Part-time jobs then kept her from starting on her GED right away. “I wasn’t pushing as hard as I could have been because you get discouraged as life comes up,” Megan explains. When her hours were cut and her employment eventually terminated, Megan told herself, “This is where I’m meant to be,” and began anew to pursue a degree.
Memories of high school were still fresh in her mind when she started classes at Seeds of Literacy, but Seeds stood out by contrast. She was surprised by how many people were not only willing to help, but to make sure she truly understood the lessons. “It wasn’t like in high school where they figured if you saw something once, you knew it,” Megan says. “Seeds is helpful and patient and I could go at my own pace.” The flexible classes fit her unpredictable work schedule, and Seeds’ personalized approach prevented Megan from getting frustrated. “You helped me isolate exactly what I had problems with instead of making me take everything over again,” she says. “I don’t want to say it was easier, because it wasn’t. It was hard work. But you didn’t judge, you didn’t belittle anyone, you never made anyone feel that they couldn’t achieve their potential.”
Now that she’s earned her GED, Megan has her heart set on becoming a librarian. “The people in my family are avid readers. I couldn’t think of a place where I’d be more comfortable or do more good than in a library.” Seeds of Literacy helped to boost her confidence, but truly it is Megan’s own dedication, revealed in her accomplishments at Seeds, that changed her outlook. “If I graduated from here, why not go to college?” Megan asks herself now. “Seeds makes you feel like anything is possible.”
Martina Dix, Graduate
For Martina Dix, earning her GED was truly a family affair. Martina’s uncle is Jeff Mazo, Seeds of Literacy’s Retention & Reassessment Coordinator. He encouraged Martina to take advantage of the free GED preparation that Seeds offers. Jeff knew Martina had the potential to succeed—she just had to take the first step.
But it wasn’t just Martina who decided to turn her education around. Her niece Darniqua and her sisters Cassandra and Brianna also enrolled. Together, they attended class nearly every night. Martina says that before enrolling, “my life was kind of unfulfilled. I needed to complete myself. I wanted to go further than where I was.” And Martina did go further. With the support of her family, they encouraged and pushed each other to attend class, work hard, and reach their goals. Their dedication to each other and their education paid off: Martina, Cassandra, Brianna, and Darniqua were thrilled when they all passed the GED exam within weeks of each other.
Though she’s been employed for years at a fast food chain, Martina is excited for the new opportunities the GED gives her. “I have options now,” says Martina. “I want to further my education. I can do that.” And she wants to make sure that other people know they can have the same opportunities if they try. “People feel like if they get to a certain age, they can’t succeed,” she says. “Don’t give up. Ever.
Lonnet Minter, Graduate
25 Years of Procrastination are Over
In talking to Lonnet, it’s easy to hear the energy in her voice and the excitement she has for learning. “In the 9th grade I was doing really good,” she explains. However, changing schools and harder math classes began to take their toll, as well as being diagnosed with ADHD. “My self-esteem was very low, and I had a lot of financial issues trying to take care of myself so I dropped out.” After that, Lonnet spent a lot of time on her own, working at places like Marc’s and McDonalds. At the same time, other events in her life began to take over. “I had my daughter at 21, had my son at 25.”
She struggled to find jobs that paid well enough to support her growing family. “I basically was working and raising my children. I wasn’t even thinking about getting my GED then. I was able to get jobs without it, but they were low-paying jobs like McDonald’s. I was able to become an STNA without the GED, but I was lying on applications.”
As years passed, Lonnet began to think more and more about her own education. “Our daughter’s graduating high school, and I promised that I’d have my GED before she graduated. I wanted to better my quality of life. I can’t do anything without my GED and I’m tired of lying about it.”
So Lonnet decided to go back to school. She had gone to a different GED program, but chose Seeds of Literacy when she moved into the neighborhood, “Since I moved here, I was looking for something closer.”
When she arrived, it was different from the other classes she’d seen, “It was very welcoming. Everybody was very nice and made you feel comfortable.” When asked about what she likes about Seeds, Lonnet smiles, “The tutors are great because they’re all different types of people and they all seem like they have a nice heart, like they want you to do better. It’s like everyone here has one common goal, for you to get that GED so you can go on to the next level.”
Lonnet grins as she describes learning that she had passed the test. “When I saw my scores, it was like that weight just lifted off of my shoulders, the procrastination of 25 years. I’m no longer a loser, I’m a winner. There were tears running down my face and I was shaking.” She pauses, adding, “It was a wonderful feeling, it was like winning the lottery.”