GLA has made a real impact on the lives of real students in our local communities.

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Meet Ime

Meet our recent GED Graduate, Ime Abimbola.

Ime came into the US from Nigeria in 2018. She was depressed due to a domestic violence situation that she endured for 11 years in her native country. Upon her arrival, she was granted asylum by the US Government.

She wanted to advance herself and attend a technical college. However, she needed a GED to move forward. Thankfully she was directed to GLA and enrolled. Ime was so happy to meet new friends in class and the tutors were so wonderful and always encouraging. With her GED she will pursue a career in nursing.

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Theodore Chuks

Theodore came to America from Nigeria, where he attended college and studied engineering.

The economy was bad in Nigeria, and it didn’t seem as if things would change any time soon.

Coming to America meant a new beginning and Theodore knew how to speak English; therefore, he didn’t waste any time enrolling in GLA to pursue his GED. After easily passing Science, Social Studies, and Math, Theodore faced his biggest challenge: passing the Test’s Reading and Language Arts portion. Just as he began preparing for the RLA exam, his father passed away, requiring him to return to Nigeria to arrange the burial.

Upon returning to the States, Theodore found it difficult to return to his studies. Eventually, he took the RLA practice test and missed it by only one point! He wanted to give up, but he stayed with it and here he is with us today.

Theodore advises anyone seeking their GED to approach the challenge with determination. He believes that determination is the key to success. Success has a price, and that price is hard work.

Currently, Theodore works as a healthcare provider, He plans to become a registered nurse and, eventually, a real estate giant. Theodore believes that, with God at the center of his life, anything is possible – including being GLA’s first millionaire alumni!

Today, Theodore walks across the stage in memory of his father and in honor of his family. Congratulations to you, Theodore Chuks!

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Jackie Cordova

Jackie did not have a particularly good high school experience.

She was not academically motivated, lacked support at home, and was badly influenced by her friends. Jackie dropped out of high school in the 12th grade knowing she would eventually have to get her GED to feel better about herself and get a higher-paying job.

It wasn’t until years later while attending Prisma Health’s ‘First-time Mom’s’ program, that she would be referred to Eckerd Connects and seriously consider getting her GED. Eckerd then sent her to GLA and sponsored her education.

Jackie enjoyed her classes at GLA and, despite her struggle with the testing portion of the program, she persisted and was successful.

To those thinking of getting a GED, Jackie says, “Go for it!” and her advice is “not to let your mind trick you into putting it off”.

Jackie has already completed the CNA course and received her CNA certification. Her next step is to continue her passion for healthcare and pursue a Phlebotomy certification.

Congratulations, Jackie, on your accomplishments! We appreciate the difference your education has made in your life and in the lives of others!

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Jonathan Vick

For Jonathon Vick, dropping out of high school in the 9th grade was not so much a personal choice, as it was a situation that was forced upon him.

Jonathon has overcome some very difficult circumstances to be here today, and we are very proud of him.

When Jonathon expressed an interest in getting his GED, a coworker told him about GLA. Jonathon was very worried that he would fail since it was not the first time he had attempted to get his GED. Setting his fears aside, Jonathon enrolled in Bootcamp, and, to his relief, he discovered a caring, supportive instructor who taught him what he needed to know. This time around he was successful!

Jonathon would like to thank his boss, his friends, coworkers, and the staff at GLA for the care and support they have given him throughout the GED process.

Jonathon has decided to enlist in the military and will undoubtedly display the same fortitude and spirit he has demonstrated throughout his life. Congratulations Jonathon, we know we will hear good things about you!

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Meet Rafael

Would you believe that your gift has the power to lift a person out of adversity? It absolutely does. To illustrate, I’d like to share Rafael’s story:

In the midst of a steady career as a truck driver, Rafael’s life was changed forever when a severe spine injury left him jobless. Without a high school diploma, he knew there was little gainful work to be found. That’s when he contacted Greenville Literacy Association. Working closely with our program managers while in recovery from his injuries, Rafael worked diligently toward his goal.

Overcoming physical and emotional barriers, Rafael finished his degree in under two years and walked across the stage to receive his diploma at our 2019 graduation.

“GLA gave me a second chance at life,” he says. “I’m no longer dreaming of the future. I’m living the dream.”

These days, Rafael completed a degree in Bachelor of Technology at ECPI University, employed as a Systems Administrator, and  is giving back to GLA in a major way as our first GED graduate who has joined our Board of Directors. He says, “I want people who walk through these doors to see someone who made it. I want to continue to empower people – to give back what I was given.”

We’re so glad to have Rafael as part of the GLA family!

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Allison Gosnell

Allison got in with a bad crowd in high school. The constant fighting and overall chaos caused her to drop out before getting her diploma.

It was only later when she became pregnant that she started thinking about the importance of her education – she wanted a better life for her son. Her brother had been to Goodwill and learned that Goodwill sponsored the GED Bootcamp program at GLA.

Allison enrolled in Bootcamp but struggled as she found herself juggling children, household responsibilities, and GED classes. Nevertheless, she persevered and is now a GED graduate.

Allison would like to thank her family and friends for their support, especially her husband, Curtis, who has always motivated and encouraged her.

Today Allison is enrolled in Cosmetology school knowing that she can look forward to a brighter future, now that she has her GED! Congratulations Allison!

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Ernest Cuevas

Ernie was a good student but left high school in the 11th grade to get married, find a job, and start a family.

For many years, he thought about finishing his education, but his focus was to meet the financial needs of his growing family – a wife and four children.

Before he knew it, Ernie had worked the same job for 25 years. Despite the passing years, his desire to continue his education remained strong and he knew that he would not be able to move into a management position without getting his GED.

Ernie looked at several GED programs that would suit his needs before discovering the GLA Bootcamp program. His advice to new students is for them to get their education sooner rather than later. He knows that there are always reasons not to do something but wishes he had done this years ago because he would be much further ahead now in his career.

Ernie would like to thank his wife Elizabeth, his children, his mom, and the GLA staff for encouraging and supporting him throughout this process. He would also like to thank Trina, who took the time to help him with Math.

Now that Ernie has his GED, he has wasted no time enrolling in the Osha-certified Audio Metric Technical course at Greenville Technical College. Next year he will take the Audiology Assistant course as well.

Congratulations, Ernie, on completing your GED and moving forward with your goals!

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Katisha Green

When asked what first motivated her to get her GED, Katisha replied, “I always felt a huge void and a sense of insecurity in my life because of my lack of education.”

Katisha heard about GLA through a GED counselor in 2019 but had a challenging time staying consistent with her GED classes. “Only my family knows that I have been trying to get my GED for years, longer than 2019, but I had a lot of setbacks in life.”

Finally, Katisha decided she had to push through those hurdles to reach her goal. She knew she needed to make a change within herself and did not want to let another opportunity pass by without jumping at the chance to achieve something. She made it her goal to pursue her GED in 2021 at GLA.

Her advice to new students is this: “Stay consistent, don’t give up, and do whatever is necessary for you to achieve your goal.” It’s been a long journey, but I made it by the grace of God.”

Katisha’s future goal is to go back to school for her nursing degree. We celebrate your success at getting your GED and your goal to get your nursing degree, Katisha! Congratulations to you!

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Meet Edgar

After trying three different GED programs, Edgar found the right fit at GLA!

Edgar describes himself in high school as a troubled kid who did not care much for school and just wanted to earn money. He dropped out of high school in the 9th grade to get a job.

Fast forward several years and Edgar was a husband and father of two when he began to realize the value of education. As he investigated the possibility of getting his GED, he tried three different GED programs, but it was only when he found the GLA Bootcamp program that things finally clicked.

At GLA Edgar felt supported and encouraged by the staff. He had a teacher who explained things well and answered his questions. His most challenging subject was Science, but Edgar persevered and eventually passed after the second attempt.

Edgar would like to thank his wife Ellie as well as his children who kept him motivated. He is proud that he has set a good example for them.

Edgar plans to attend college, where he would like to get a degree in construction.

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Meet Marley

Meet our GED Graduate, Marley Highlander

Covid hit during Marley’s Freshman year of high school. Like many other students, she was suddenly forced to learn online from home. Also like many students, she became overwhelmed and had a tough time coping with the challenges that online learning presented. Marley decided to drop out of high school and pursue a GED instead.

It was Marley’s aunt who discovered our program and Marley was grateful to find that we offered in-person classes so that she wouldn’t have to study online.

The biggest challenge was having to study subjects she wasn’t very good at or interested in. However, she discovered her instructor, Mark, to be an engaging teacher from whom she learned a lot.

Marley would like to thank her mother for taking her to and from classes and for supporting her throughout this journey.

We here at GLA say, “Strike while the iron is hot and while all that knowledge is fresh in your mind!” Congratulations Marley on getting your GED.

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Michael Henson

Although Michael had a good high school experience, he decided that it was more important to get a job, so he dropped out before he could graduate.

That is a decision he has lived to regret because, although he has a decent job, he must work in hot, physically demanding conditions.

Michael decided to get his GED to unlock new job opportunities. It was while he was doing research on available GED programs that he found he was eligible for GLA Bootcamp and Goodwill sponsorship. He enrolled in Bootcamp and, even though finding time for class was challenging, Michael was a model student attending regularly and completing his assigned homework.

Michael encourages everyone without a GED to enroll in classes and to make themselves proud. He credits his wife for her unfailing support and GED Bootcamp instructor, Mark, for helping him achieve success.

Right now, Michael is deciding on a new career – a commercial driver or a law enforcement officer. Whichever career he decides upon, we are certain he will do well! Congratulations on your achievements Michael, your future is brighter with your GED!

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Meet Isabel

Isabel enrolled at Greenville Literacy Association to learn English.

She grew up in Mexico, and for her family, education was not a priority. “I made it a goal in my adult life that if I had the opportunity to have an education, I would take it,” she shares, “so that my family would have a better life, and so that I could show my parents that an education is key to improving your life.”

When she began at GLA, her English was extremely limited, but she quickly gained ground and began moving up in her curriculum. Within months, she managed to bring herself to a workable level of English. Not long after that, she made the decision to enter GLA’s GED program. “I took advantage of everything that GLA offered me,” says Isabel, “though it wasn’t easy – I put in a lot of hard work and studied, and became one of the most dedicated students in the program.”

She made her way through the GED program while still perfecting her English. When she spoke at her GLA graduation ceremony, she made a special appeal to the supporters of GLA who made her education possible:

“It’s because of your unselfish giving that I and many others are living a dream that would not have been possible without GLA.”

Since graduating from our GED program, Isabel has gone on to complete the Physical Therapy Assistant program at Greenville Tech. She thanks her husband Jeff and her son Anthoni and has promised to keep us updated on her progress. We’re proud of you, Isabel!

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Photo credit: Barry Peter’s Photography