GRADUATION AROUND THE NATION 2009
Grace Outreach Graduates Speak
Grace Outreach is a program for single mothers who aged out of receiving a high school diploma. The only road open is one of menial labor and hardship for their children and themselves. Margaret Grace, Esq. gave up her law practice to found Grace Outreach. By August 1st, 2009, Grace Outreach will have graduated well over 400 women. Recent graduates are presently attending the College Prep Program at Grace Outreach, CUNY Colleges or job-training programs. For more information: www.graceoutreachbronx.org
All of us have faced varying degrees of adversity in obtaining our diplomas. Halfway through my senior year of high school, I suddenly found myself without a permanent residence. Believing that graduation was at that point impossible, I dropped out. By not finishing high school it was a crushing blow to everyone who knew me personally, especially to my family. They had held so many expectations for me, such as being at the top of my class and being the first person in my family to attend and graduate from college. My dream of being a teacher was also put on hold.
I spent the next three years in a sort of daze, going from bad job to worse job and working at minimum wage. Finally in February, after a long conversation with a family member, I was convinced to go back to school. But this time I was doing it for me. I found Grace Outreach’s website through Google and made the call that day. Almost 2 months later, after many weeks of work with the staff, I had that coveted piece of paper in my hands and I am truly amazed at how different I feel. Grace Outreach not only helped me develop the skills to pass the G.E.D., they also helped me realize that I am smart; I can do anything I set my mind to. Even go back to school. And thanks to Grace Outreach’s college preparation program, I will march on to Lehman College and then go back to high school, but this time, as a teacher.
Obtaining my GED and going to college have always been my dream. I heard about the GED program at Grace Outreach from my sister who was a recent graduate. The moment I enrolled in the program, I knew it was going to be a blessing to me. I adhered to all the rules and regulations and made sure that I was always on time for my classes. I knew it was not going to be easy because English is not my first language and that was a struggle for me. I told myself that my toil at Grace Outreach will never be in vain.
Unfortunately, the first time I took the GED, I failed the math, but I did well in all the other subjects. I was not going to give up. It was my seventh month in the program and I could not wait to finish the program. It was crucial that I obtain my GED, as I wanted to enroll in college in the fall of 2009. I really focused on my math with the help of my teachers; I knew that I could be successful. The teachers at Grace reminded me of the days I was in elementary school, where the teachers help the students to write their alphabets and numerals. Grace Outreach teachers are patience, lenient, and jovial, which help us as students to relax and feel comfortable.
The second time I took the test, I was really confident. This time I obtain my GED diploma. I am now enrolled in the College Prep program at Grace Outreach, which will further help me be prepared for college. I will be attending Bronx Community College this fall where I will be pursuing a career in nursing.
Mrs. Angela Staton
Having been a resident in the United States for over a decade, I decided it was time to stay true to my promise to return to school. And so I did when a dear colleague recommended the GED Program that was being offered by the excellent Grace Outreach. Although a bit apprehensive initially, this was all forgotten and replaced with much elation upon receiving the welcome call to the program and the sincerest congratulations. Nothing felt more fulfilling than my arrival on the first day of classes, as it took me back to the first day of my high school experience as a teenager.
It would be far from the truth if I said that I completed the program effortlessly and without any failures. Instead, I remember doubting myself especially when I was not able to grasp concepts and remember formulas. I remember moments when I dreaded asking questions when a point or a topic was unclear fearing that I would be perceived as slow or simply too old to be in the classroom. What I also remember was the support that was given by the teachers and faculty in general at Grace Outreach in these moments of doubt and uncertainty. The tremendous effort and time that is put into the curriculum makes climbing those five (5) flights of stairs so rewarding; because as a student you feel confident that when you enter the classroom you are being greeted by a team that looks forward to your success and achievement. Although I wasn’t successful in obtaining a pass in mathematics on my first attempt, my second time around I was successful and that was due to the assistance and encouragement I received from my teachers and family in general.
I therefore walk away today with more than a GED, I walk away with renewed confidence in my abilities and potential to be a strong competitor in the job market, and I could not have done so without the assistance of a driven team of educators. As I consider my next step toward obtaining a college degree, I will definitely approach this next goal with the skills and proficiency that I was able to develop having attended Grace Outreach. God Bless you all.