Youth Profile in Action

Statistically, one in three American high school students drops out of high school before graduation. In my home state of Louisiana, graduation rates are below 60 percent statewide. There are several causes for this problem, such as a general dislike of the school experience, employment, entering the criminal justice system, and behavioral or academic difficulties. For me, I guess I just got uninterested with school after a while and I stopped trying anymore.

Fortunately, with encouragement from my high school principal and help from a local community center, I changed the course I was on and went on to earn my G.E.D. I am thankful that I did not become just another statistic, because the choices that we make as young people will play a big role in our futures.

At my first high school, I began failing some classes mainly because I was missing so many days and falling behind on my work. As I lost interest in academics, it started seeming as if all hope was lost for me. Getting a college education was a nice idea, and somehow I could see myself in a cap and gown walking prideful across the stage to receive my Science or Business degree – but since I thought that I would not be graduating from high school, I thought going college would be impossible.

I did not realize that I did have a shot at pursuing a college degree until my family moved and I switched high schools. My new school principal encouraged me and told me that “yes, you can go to college with a G.E.D.” When he said that to me, immediately I felt invigorated because now there was hope for me. There was a future with unlimited possibilities. There were dreams that I could actually see coming true. At that moment felt that I had the chance to change the course that I was on, and so I did.

After receiving this “new hope,” I called The Lighthouse, a local community center that assisted me in getting enrolled in the G.E.D. program at the Louisiana Technical College. It took only a month for me to receive my G.E.D. with outstanding scores on it. I then went on to attend Southern University here in Shreveport and graduated with an Associates of Science in Computer Sciences.  A little after that, I had a baby girl (who just turned six this past December) and got married.

I am currently at LSU-Shreveport pursuing my Business degree in which I will be graduating later this year. I have been truly blessed to be given another chance at redeeming myself by getting my G.E.D., which led to even bigger and better things. I encourage all other young people to not give up on your education and always pursue your dreams.