Thursday, June 2, 2011

EDITORIAL: Educated Women I Admire- Kerri

by Erika Martin

Education ColumnistLink

In last week's editorial, I wrote about education goals having no timetable. Hearing the stories of other women that have made educational goals and reached out for them later in life are inspiring to me. They motivate me to reach for my own. They're a real life example that I can share with my children that it's never to late to learn. For the next few weeks, I'll be sharing stories of women in my life that have inspired me and that are dreaming big and taking the steps necessary to turn them into reality.

The first I'm going to introduce you to happens to be my sister, Kerri. Kerri, at 35, is 15 months older than I am. My sister and I both lived in a "catch-22" when we were growing up and were both denied our high school diplomas. We were both pulled out of public school in 1991. Kerri completed 10th grade in the public school system and finished her last two years as a home schooled student. Sixteen years later, in 2009, Kerri received her GED through the Vermont Adult Learning Center.

When asked what her biggest feelings of accomplishment are when it comes to her education, Kerri shared that it is pride. She is very clear that she took the steps to get her GED for herself. She pushed herself to accomplish her goal, even though there were times when she wanted to give up due to timing and work schedules. However, she felt that she would regret it if she didn't finish what she started.

There are always obstacles that arise when we are reaching towards a goal and Kerri wasn't immune to any of those. Because she's a single working mom, she had rearrange her work schedule in order to take the tests required to obtain her GED. She found a good support system in her co-workers and employer, though, as they were all pulling for her to achieve her goal. Kerri also had to study up on some math skills that had been lost over the years but was able to arrange for some practice materials and she also used online resources to fill in the gaps.

I asked Kerri what the next step would be now that she's received her GED. She has plans for furthering her education but said that she still doesn't know what she wants to be when she "grows up." She plans to start with core classes at the Community College of Vermont while she comes to a decision about her major.

I wanted to know what advice Kerri would offer to women and girls when it comes to their education. She shares that she was the stereotypical wife and mother for ten years. She had no other plans than to do that. Her life all changed when her marriage ended. She had no education, no formal training and suddenly had to find a way to make ends meet and support her two children. She says that she didn't have the time to put into full-time schooling because her children come first. If she could have changed anything, it would be that she would have taken the time when her children were little to do some online courses. She feels that she would have been better prepared to take care of her children now.

She urges women and girls to not let it go by and that women and girls are strong and are just as important as men. She feels that even if you want to be a wife and mother, failing to get an education is just an irresponsible use of the amazing mind that you have inside of you and that you never know what is going to happen in the future.

About the columnist:

Erika Martin was withheld from attaining her high school diploma and a higher education due to living in a spiritually abusive upbringing. She is currently working towards attaining her high school diploma and plans to pursue a degree in Psychology after graduation this June. Erika will highlight relevant news and information that relates to education as well as chronicle her journey toward her diploma.



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