This story was submitted to ADE Adult Education Services by Heather Patterson of Friendly House. Minor edits have been made for clarity.
My name is Luis Hernandez and I am a recent GED graduate. I am excited to share with you all the impact that Adult Education has had on my life and on the life of my family.
I have always enjoyed learning, but at the age of 16, I had to drop out of high school to get a job and support my family. I’ve been with my wife Bethanie for 19 years and we have 3 boys: Daniel (18), Luis (17) and Roberto (15). Several years ago, Daniel started to have problems at school, so we searched for a solution and after trying online school, we decided that it would be best for him to attend a GED class. I took him to Friendly House to sign him up for class and when I returned home, my wife asked me why I hadn’t signed up, too.
I’ve always wanted that piece of paper that says I am a High School Graduate, but over the years it seemed selfish to put that want before the financial needs of my family. This year, however, Bethanie had a job and was able to pay the bills and Daniel needed my support. I decided that this was my chance.
I eventually found my way into the I-BEST [Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training] program. I took an RLA [Reasoning through Language Arts] class with Heather [Patterson, lead I-BEST instructor for Friendly House] and she told me she wanted me to join the I-BEST program. I still wasn’t sure, but my classmate Sarah really persuaded me to join.
I found the I-BEST class to be really enjoyable; there was so much to learn. It was a challenge that I was happy to face. I successfully completed the Pharmacy Technician class at the start of this year and 2 weeks later I passed my last GED test. I was proud to score 99 on the civics test, but I may go back and retake it just to see if I can score that extra point!
As for my family, I know that Daniel would have finished his GED no matter what, but I believe that seeing me in class and taking tests inspired him to push himself a little harder. He has also completed his GED and is currently enlisting in the army to serve our country.
When I signed up for class, my goal was to get my GED, nothing more. And yet, less than 8 months later I am studying to take my Pharmacy Tech boards. This time around I will not put limits on myself and I am thinking of becoming a Pharmacist.
I would encourage anyone who is thinking about going back to school to go! Find a program that fits your needs. Adult Education has opened so many doors for me and also for my family. I am ready to start a career. I will forever be grateful to my wife for encouraging me to take the first step toward enrolling in the program.