Adoniyya Edwards

Determined to Succeed

Adoniyya Edwards enrolled in August of 2019 with the sole intention to obtain his High School Equivalency Diploma. Adoniyya worked extremely hard—spending long hours on is coursework and taking on extra homework assignments to prepare for his exams.

In February of 2021, Adoniyya reached his goal and obtained his High School Equivalency Diploma.

During his time at Pearl River Community College, he also completed a Smart Start course and received his Smart Start Credential.   

Adoniyya’s instructors had this to say:

“Adoniyya never complained about the amount of work that he needed to do, he simply smiled and said, ‘Whatever it takes.’  He was always positive and full of perseverance—charging ahead to reach his goal while cheering on his classmates to attain their goals as well.”

Adoniyya will attend college next semester and is focused on furthering his education.

 

Beth Frutal

Beth Frutal

Beth Frutal’s Journey to Success

After graduating high school with an occupational diploma, Beth Frutal aimed to earn her GED.  She began working on her high school equivalency diploma in 2017 and methodically worked through each subject saving math for last, as it was her least favorite subject.

By 2018, Beth had passed all subjects in her coursework except for math. She faced many barriers in completing her math courses—barriers that stemmed from disliking the subject and from having a troubled history with math.

“I worked tirelessly on reshaping how she viewed math,” Frutal’s instructor shared. “We made notecards with affirmations, and we wrote down her intentions. Beth came to class every day from 8 to 12 and worked diligently on learning math. We worked relentlessly for a complete school year before she was ready to take her test.”

 

In May 2019, Frutal took her exam and scored a 7 overall—only a few points shy of passing. She wasn’t deterred; she continued to study diligently and re-took her exam in June. Again, Frutal missed passing by only a few points. She was disappointed, but returned to her coursework a few months later when classes were re-opened.

“When we returned Beth came back!” Frutal’s instructor says, “She came religiously on Tuesday and Thursday nights and we worked and worked and worked. We did every kind of practice material, practice test and version of math we could find. We set our goal- take the test by October 25th.  She opted to switch from computer to paper testing. We even set up a dry run to try to eliminate anxiety issues.”

On the day of the exam, tensions were high. Frutal completed her exam on paper and then waited anxiously for her results.

“We waited and we waited and we waited for what felt like an eternity.” Frutal’s instructor says, “Every day, I had Amber check the scores.  After the 9th day we started checking scores every few hours.”

Finally, the results came in. Frutal passed! Her hard work, perseverance, and determination paid off.

Her instructor happily recalls sharing the news with Frutal:

“I could hear her family in the background screaming, ‘Hallelujah! She passed! She passed! Thank you Jesus!!!’ as she screamed ‘ I PASSSED! I PASSED!,’” Frutal’s instructor says, “Oh, it was a wonderful moment.  There are no words to describe that euphoric feeling. She was so proud of herself! She proved to herself that she could do math and in fact she could do anything she was determined to do.”

Beth Frutal’s story truly exemplifies the benefits of perseverance and the importance of supportive instructors in guiding students toward their career and educational goals.

Aline Toloto

Aline Toloto

Aline Toloto and her husband moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi from Brazil in 2017. Although Aline had taken English courses in Brazil, she found herself woefully unprepared for the demands of speaking to native English speakers.

“I could barely speak or understand what people said,” Toloto says. “It was very hard to communicate my ideas and thoughts clearly.”

During her first two months in Hattiesburg, Toloto focused on improving her English by watching T.V. shows, meeting and speaking with English-speaking friends, and attending social events. It was through her conversations that she heard about Pearl River Community College, and the ESL courses they provided.

“I started attending English classes with teacher Fred Goins,” Toloto says. “His classes motivated me to keep going and trusting that eventually I would achieve English fluency.”

After a year of studies, Toloto put her knowledge to the test and applied to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). She also applied to a graduate program in the hopes of furthering her education.

“It was very rewarding to see that all the effort I have put into learning a foreign language was worth it,” Toloto says.

Toloto is currently starting her fourth semester of her Master’s Degree in Scenic Design and Technology at USM.

Toloto’s story exemplifies the benefits of hard work, dedication, and focus, and serves as inspiration for students of all backgrounds interested in learning English as a second language.

Kaylee Ridgeway

Kaylee Ridgeway Picture

A Wonderful Opportunity

Kaylee Ridgeway speaks on her experience obtaining her High School Equivalency and pursuing her college education.

“I quit school in the tenth grade. It wasn’t a good decision for me, but I felt as if it was the best thing to do at the time,” Ridgeway says. “I needed to care for my dad who was diagnosed with cancer.”

“After he died, I wanted to get my High School Equivalency. Last year, I finally got to go back and completed all the steps to get my diploma. I passed all of my tests, and it was the best thing I ever did!” Ridgeway says.

Ridgeway is currently pursuing her college education and is on track to becoming a nurse in the Fall of 2021. She has this to say about her experience:

“I’m thankful I had this opportunity so I can do what I’ve always dreamed of doing.”

Payton Tapp

Payton Tapp

The Gateway to Success

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Payton Tapp was determined to continue and complete his education. In March of 2020, Payton began the Smart Start program at Northeast Mississippi Community College (NEMCC), but due to the pandemic, classes were suspended.

However, this didn’t deter Payton. He returned when classes resumed in September and worked diligently to complete his coursework. He was made a candidate for the Gateway program, a job skills and workforce training program, and began the process of enrollment.

He joined the program on October 6. Since his enrollment, Payton has taken advantage of the great opportunities the Gateway program has to offer.

He completed the program’s essential job skills training, obtained his National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), and began his paid work experience internship at the Booneville Exxon—all while finishing his requirements to earn his High School Equivalency Diploma.

In a few short weeks, Payton had passed his high school equivalency exam and had fulfilled a total of 160 hours of paid work experience offered by the Gateway program. His experience prepared him for the next stage of his education: NEMCC’s Welding program.

With support from his instructors, counselors, and lessons learned, Payton was prepared for NEMCC’s Welding program and began classes in January of 2021.

He is currently completing NEMCC’s Welding program and credits his Adult Education and Gateway program instructors with the support, insight, and guidance they provided. Payton’s story proves that anything can be achieved through focus and perseverance.

If you are interested in participating in the WIOA Gateway Program, please contact 662.720.7574 for more information.

The Gateway Program is funded by the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) through Northeast Mississippi Community College, The Mississippi Partnership Board and Three Rivers Planning and Development District. 

#NEMCCGateway #nemccwioagatewayyouth

#WIOA #NEMCCAE #SmartStart #NCRC

#ThisCouldBeYou #SkillUpMississippi

Brandon Denton

Brandon Denton is a shining star in my HSE program. Brandon has currently completed the following three sections of his official GED test: RLA, Science and Social Studies.

He is currently studying for his math exam and he will participate in the new Math Jump Start pilot program.  He is also a Workforce welding/MIBEST student at the AMTC campus.

Brandon’s hard work and determination make him a role model for the other HSE students in my program. He is reliable and always has a great attitude while completing his assignments and responsibilities.

I am excited to see Brandon continue to grow and reach new goals, especially when he begins college and encounters new academic coursework.

Tiffany Wilkes- HSE Instructor, Perkinston campus

Travis Davis

Travis Davis Picture

Succeeding Despite the Pandemic

 

Travis Davis was determined to continue his education despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Travis quickly enrolled at Mississippi Delta Community College (MDCC) and began his Adult Education courses on July 23, 2020, at MDCC’s Moorhead campus.

Not only was Travis able to complete his coursework online, but he also had the option of getting face-to-face instruction from his instructors.

Travis was also enrolled in Smart Start, a workforce readiness program, and learned valuable communication, time-management, and team-building skills. Through his coursework, Travis gained confidence in himself, learned valuable job-related skills, and developed a strong work ethic.

His hard work earned him a NCRC Bronze Certificate, a Smart Start Credential, and his GED. Travis is now moving toward his goal of joining the military. We are extremely proud of Travis and look forward to seeing him meet his goal and prosper in the future!

Mary Bolton

A Story of Perseverance

In 2000, Mary began working on her GED. She worked diligently, and passed her courses, but fell short, by one point, in mathematics. She continued prepping for her exam and decided to take the test again in 2014. By then, however, the exam had changed and frustrated with its new format, Mary decided to take another route for her education.

She enrolled in web-based courses and acquired an online diploma. She worked for 10 years, supporting herself and her three children, without the legitimacy of her education coming into question. However, when she decided to change careers and made strides toward becoming the cafeteria manager at her children’s school, her online diploma was not considered valid. She was given a deadline by her supervisor to have her diploma, or she would lose her position.

Mary was dismayed but was also determined. In the fall of 2019, she enrolled in AE classes and started on the HiSet track. She worked tirelessly through the semester and passed all her courses except for math. In December, Mary attended her night classes right after she finished her shift on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was difficult for her, as she was often tired, struggled with dyslexia, and needed support for learning the primary math functions.

However, she persevered. She would often study over the weekends, communicate frequently with her instructor, and ask questions about her assignments. She was set on taking the exam the week after spring break, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, her test date was delayed.

But, Mary continued to prep herself for the exam. She frequently called her instructor, sometimes even meeting through Facetime to discuss her math coursework. All the while, she worked a regular shift preparing hundreds of sack lunches at her children’s school.

Then, in June, she decided to take her exam. She was very nervous, and during her exam, her calculator died, only amplifying her anxiety. She didn’t pass her exam but was not deterred from trying again.

In August, she returned to her courses and continued working Tuesday and Thursday nights to improve her math skills. She worked diligently and set her sights on passing her exam in October.

In October, she was able to take her exam. It took nine days for her to receive her scores. The wait was agonizing, but, to her delight, she passed. She shared her results with her instructor who was overjoyed at the news.

Mary’s story exemplifies the benefits of hard work, perseverance, and commitment. Despite all of her adversities, anxieties, and set-backs, Mary was able to obtain her diploma, continue her career, and provide support for her family.

David Chapman Burress

The Benefits of Perseverance

In August of 2020, sixteen-year-old David Chapman Burress decided to start his college plan early and enrolled in the Adult Education program at Northeast Mississippi Community College (NEMCC).

After beginning the program, David found that the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) Gateway Youth Program provided an excellent opportunity to acquire work experience. He began taking NEMCC’s Industrial Maintenance classes. The training sessions were long and challenging, but he persevered.

His hard work paid off and, in a few months, he completed his Smart Start course and received his High School Equivalency Diploma— all on the same day.

After completing his Industrial Maintenance courses, David plans to enroll in the Welding Program on the Northeast campus. He is grateful every day that he decided to get an early start to college and is excited about his future.

Shengfang Du

Shengfang Du picture

About two years ago, 80-year-old Chinese student Shengfang Du started attending my ESL class when I was still teaching at Jackson Public Schools. The very first minute we met, we engaged in a very nice conversation and she stated that she wanted to improve her English. She attended every single class and participated intensively. Since she did not have a car, she walked from her apartment to school every day.
However, after the JPS ESL program ended, Sheng was unable to attend classes at Hinds Community College because no transportation was available.

Once the Corona Virus pandemic reached us back in March of 2020, we had no choice but to start teaching online classes from home and this is when Sheng took the advantage and re-joined my class. She has kept an excellent attendance since then.

Her Bio: Sheng moved to MS 10 years ago when she became a US citizen following her dream to be with her son to start a new life in the USA. Sheng had a successful career in China before she retired as a MD and PhD researcher. She worked on research on viral infectious disease vaccination epidemiological investigation, such as Influenza and Polio, and contributed in class every time we talk about health systems, the pandemic, hospitals, etc.

As Sheng states: “Being in class has helped me meet new friends, go grocery shopping without any fears and discuss Biology with my grandson who is a sophomore in high school.”

Note: Sheng’s teacher encouraged her to register to vote. Sheng did and received her Voter Registration Card in the mail and will exercise her right to vote in the November election.

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