High School Equivalency Graduate Stories

Graduate Stories

Stories from our recent GED® graduates


Kimberly Thomas in WNC Woman - http://www.wncwoman.com/2014/04/05/literacy-council-of-buncombe-county-kimberly-thomas/


Stephen Smith in Asheville Citizen-Times – http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20140105/LIVING/301050030/Asheville-man-uplifts-others-after-prison-stint


Lety Onate in VERVE Magazine – http://www.vervemag.com/september-2013/2013/9/2/there-are-no-excuses.html


GED® Success (by John Thornton)

            Obtaining my GED was hard and speaking at the graduation was nerve racking.  I was a thirty-year old with an eighth grade education when I started the program.  I really could not see the whole picture of what I was actually accomplishing, that is, until I graduated.

            I noticed its significance instantly, standing before five-hundred people, all seemingly very proud to be there.  I probably spoke for twenty-five seconds out of the two minute speech I had initially planned on speaking, but what an exhilarating experience.

            I couldn’t have seen myself doing anything like that if I didn’t have the faculty and staff support.  Anytime I needed help with anything they were always there.  They helped me jump start my life in the right direction.  Now I can begin to help better the lives of loved ones around me.  The respect and confidence I’ve gathered is not only evident in myself, it is also evident to the people closest to me.

            This will be my third semester of my first year at A-B Tech, which is the beginning of the Honors Program I have been gladly accepted to.  Surmounting that first step of receiving my diploma was a nice piece of a large abstract puzzle that’s going to take years to complete.  The foundation that has been laid down through acquiring my GED is going to give me the determination to push further on, accomplishing any goals set in the future.   


From GED® to Web Technologies (Rick Anderson)

From start to finish, getting my GED diploma took 22 days. One speed-bump in the road was having to re-TABE in Language Arts Writing. And waiting until I was eligible to re-TABE seemed like it took forever. Once that was complete, I was able to move forward with the testing to ultimately receiving my GED with a total score of 3300.

Also, I have received the Alternative Education Scholarship that A-B Tech offers to those who have gotten their GED within the past 12 months. Just in case there are people with questions about getting extra money towards their education here at A-B Tech.

During Summer I took 4 classes-CIS 110, ACA 115, DMA 020 and DMA 040. These classes to me were easy, especially ACA. If there is ever anyone getting their GED with the intention of enrolling into classes here at A-B Tech, I would recommend taking Lloyd Weinberg's ACA class. Enough with that, I finished summer with a 4.0 overall and passed both DMA classes with a 96 or higher.

This fall I am taking a total of 18 hours. Doing this will keep me on track to getting my A.A.S. in Web Technologies by May, 2015.


Graduation Speech, June, 2013 (Melissa Zacharchuk)

Congratulation graduates, WE DID IT!

I don’t know what it may have been like for anyone else to get to this night, but I want to share just a bit of my journey with you…

Sixteen years ago, before I dropped out of high school, I had become a terrible student. I wasn’t interested, I didn't have any real goals, I was academically checked out. So when I had a baby half way through my senior year, it only made sense in my mind to leave school and care for her.

It wasn’t until I watched from the bleachers as my class graduated that I first realized the significance of the choices that I had made. I immediately wished I had applied myself more. I tried to convince myself it didn’t matter, but every year it bothered me more and more. Then as my friends began to attend our high school reunions, I found it moderately offensive that I never got an invitation. Just because I didn’t graduate doesn’t mean I wasn’t there.

I soon noticed when I would do online job searches, all the desirable positions required a High School Diploma or equivalency. For some reason, this would always fill me with a sense of shame and dread.

In addition, if it ever came up in a conversation that I had dropped out of high school, I would feel embarrassed, especially if it was somebody new I was just meeting, or someone I held in high regard.

I attempted several times to study for the GED. I would begin, and then I would have another baby, and the GED would get pushed to the back burner. A bit later I would begin again, then I would switch jobs or I would begin and then I would encounter fractions; and truthfully, I was afraid of failure. I didn’t believe I was capable and looking back now, that is very sad.

So fast forward to last summer.  My family and I had been living in Asheville a little over a year, I was waiting tables at my third restaurant since moving here. Some of the people I worked with were very, very unpleasant, and the business was not doing so well, it was just a real negative stressful situation. I didn’t really want to look for yet another job and honestly there weren’t as many opportunities out there as I had expected.

It was during this time I decided I would try again to get my GED and after that maybe I would take a 6 week certification class to file index cards or something. I never considered college an option; remember, I didn’t even think I could pass. I still believed myself to be the terrible high school student stuck on fractions. But with the help of the staff here at A-B Tech, I did pass. I’m especially grateful for Kim Litz who was always encouraging. She and Bryant were very patient with helping adults learn fraction and integers. (No easy feat)

It wasn’t until I got my scores, (and not only did I pass, but I did pretty well), that I began to entertain the idea of college. I applied for and was granted a scholarship. I am currently enrolled at A-B Tech and taking two summer classes. In the fall, I hope to add one more.

So if any of my story sounds familiar, please know the opportunity is available. Not necessarily for you graduates, you’ve already conquered this hurdle, but what I hope you’ll take away is that when you think you’ve reached the limits of your capabilities, keep pressing on…you may only be scratching the surface.


Better Late Than Never (Tim & Peggy Wurzer)

Tim and Peggy Wurzer, graduatesPeggy, who quit school in the 12th grade, is now 63-years-old. “My parents were so distraught!” she says, remembering back to when she left high school. While she had always planned to go back to school and finish up, the pressures of life kept preventing her from dedicating time and energy to her studies.

After marrying Tim and raising children together, she decided to finally begin the process of studying for the GED. Tim, who left school at the age of 16, decided to join her. They started off together at Blue Ridge Community College studying in reading, English language arts, social studies, and science.

Part-way through their studies, the Wurzer’s suddenly got custody of their great grandchildren, ages two and five. Shortly thereafter, they had to sell their home in Hendersonville and move to Asheville. The Wurzer’s knew that passing the GED was important to both of them, and they brought maturity and determination to bear on their circumstances. They arranged for babysitters to be with the kids so they could study, and transferred to A-B Tech so they could have a shorter commute.

“We just had our math tests left to go,” says Peggy. She and Tim attended the morning Math Lab for help. “The instructors were absolutely wonderful! They explained things so clearly,” remembers Tim.

Tim passed his math test first, and Peggy continued her studies for another week. “I was so scared that I wouldn’t pass. I just wanted to keep reviewing and reviewing to be sure I knew the material.” Peggy says. “I never thought I could ever do algebra and geometry, but I did! I even wound up liking geometry! The instructors made it so much easier for me to learn it.” Peggy passed her last exam and she and Tim celebrated their accomplishments together at our GED Graduation Ceremony in June 2013.

“Now, I’m a big proponent for education,” says Peggy. “I tell everyone to keep going. Just don’t give up! It feels so good to graduate!”

Tim isn’t stopping with the GED. He has registered to attend Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua, New York in the fall. He will be taking Accounting.