In honor of Mother’s Day, here are stories from 3 women who against all odds are pursuing an education to better not only their lives but, their children’s lives too.
Education Provides New Opportunities
By Mary Crumble, GED/College Transition Student
My name is Mary and I was born and raised in Washington, DC along with three other siblings. I attended the public school in my area, however, I never completed high school and had to drop out because I became pregnant.
In order to get my GED, I began going to Academy of Hope, a program that helps individuals obtain their GED. I was struggling with the program and decided to switch to the National External Diploma Program, a high school completion option for adults. Four years later, I graduated and received my high school diploma.
When I first told my oldest daughter that I was going back to school, she was proud of me. I will never forget that moment. Now, my dream is to attend college and receive a degree in early childhood education. I’m taking college prep classes to help me prepare. Once I finish the prep classes and save enough money, I plan to attend community college.
SInce I graduated high school, I can now fill out applications on my own and no longer have to worry about the part, ‘Name your high school.’ I’m happy that I made a change for myself and pursued my high school diploma. Now, I have so many new opportunities that I never had before.
Education Empowers Individuals
By Camille Myers, ABE/GED Student
My name is Camille Myers and I am a mother to a son and a grandmother of three. I was born in Utah but I was raised by a widowed mother in Idaho with an old-fashioned Midwestern upbringing. My schooling was varied; I was diagnosed with seizures and was given a wide variety of drugs starting at 6. Because of the drugs, I was labeled mentally challenged and spent my first four years in a state school for people with severe mental retardation. In the fifth grade, I went to a special school for mentally challenged students until I was 16.
At 16, I became a mom and quit school. At the time I quit school, my reading ability was at the 4th grade level. It was a struggle to be a single mom. It was very hard to get employment as I could not fill out the applications. I missed many opportunities for work even though I was a good worker. Because of the misdiagnosis on my educational abilities, I felt that I missed out on the opportunity to fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse. Yet somehow, even though it was a struggle, I managed to raise my son and provide for us.
When I was 50, I realized that I wanted to continue my education. I started going to an adult literacy program, Del Norte Reads in California. Much to my amazement, I loved attending classes and was able to learn many new skills..
I feel that getting an education, even at my age, sets an example to my family and to other learners. I made sure my son finished high school and he then went to culinary school. In addition, my self-esteem has skyrocketed. I am able to fill out applications, read books and understand what I am reading. I can now balance my checkbook, and I even have the confidence to tutor others and counsel prospective learners to encourage them to pursue their educational goals. The most exciting thing is that I have found that the “labels” put on me as a child were not merited. I am a strong, intelligent woman who is capable of fulfilling anything I can dream.
Education Makes Dreams Come True
Mary Mach, ESOL Student
My name is Mary Mach and I was born in South Sudan. I attended school there until 2nd grade but, due to war, I had to drop-out and flee South Sudan to Kenya in 1992. When I was in Kenya, I never had the opportunity to go to school because I was tasked with taking care of my younger siblings. Daily in the refugee camp, I had to cook and fetch water for my family. In 2004, my family and I moved to the U.S. for a better life.
After being in the U.S. for some years and having my own children, I decided go back to school to learn English. However, being a mom and going to school is not easy and I have to juggle many responsibilities. On a day-to-day basis, I have to take care of my six children, bring them to school, cook for them, and help them with their homework.
When I went to see my doctor, I used to need a translator, and that was my motivation to go back to school because I wanted to be independent. My son encourages me a lot. He said, “Mom, you don’t need a translator now. Mom, you can read and return the teacher’s notes back to her.” Because of my children’s support, I have found the willpower to overcome the obstacles and have received my CNA license.
My dream is to be a midwife. In my country, women die every day in their villages because they don’t have the proper education and guidance.When I was working for two years in Kakuma, a refugee camp, I witnessed pregnant young girls dying from labor. I want to help change that.
Support for mothers’ education is one of the best education investments a society can make. It brings multiple returns to the family, community, and to the mother herself. In the United States, that investment is limited in relation to the amount of need. 36 million adults in the United States need to improve their pre-college level academic skills. Yet, the publicly funded adult education system has the capacity to serve only slightly more than 2 million young and older adults per year.