Taking the G.E.D. - Cece's Tilsley's story

Cece Tilsley shared this story with the VALUE discussion list, and it will soon be linked to the VALUE website.

I would like to start by saying a very big THANK YOU to all of my friends and family who helped me make it through this time in my life. My life as I know it will never be the same, I will never be the same. I am a different person now that I have my G. E. D. I even think differently. What happened to me is just so wonderful, it has opened up doors for me and I canít even imagine what my future will be like.

I have been trying to get this document since 1993. I started here at Moraine Valley in the Literacy Program. When I took my first class, it was in Basic Skills with a teacher named Gladys, and what a wonderful teacher she was. She was always very patient and understanding. She made everyone in class feel so comfortable. It was easy to learn in that kind of environment. After several semesters, I moved on to the regular G.E.D. classes. Again I was in a different league. Here there was much more to learn, but I was hoping I could do this. It took me three G.E.D classes until I was finished.

The first time I took the G.E.D. test, was in July of 1994 and I missed by 18 points. I tried again in November of 1997, but missed by 13 points. By this time, I was so upset with myself that I did not pass the test that I just stopped going to classes. I let that part of my life go by. How wrong was I to do this-very wrong. I wasted two years when I could have been studying and trying harder to do the classes. Luckily, even though I was not going to class, I was still coming to Moraine for student activities. That was when the literacy program coordinator, Maria Thiel, would ask me about doing the test again but I kept telling her I was so afraid I would fail and did not want to try. But time went on and we kept talking and Maria convinced me to see that if I failed, I would still be able to try again. So that was just what I did.

Because Math was not my best subject, I worked with a math tutor, Jerry Nagel. He helped me to understand what I called the harder math. He helped me so much! He and I met two times a week for more than a year. With his help I had the confidence to take the test again. This time on September 8, 2001, I only took the math and my score went up by six points. I was disappointed but not discouraged. I called my tutor so we could continue lessons. I also enrolled in a math class with Karen Kuenn. She gave me more math books to study with my tutor, and all of this studying is what got me through the math. So now I was ready to try the test again. This time I felt that I had a really good chance of passing the test.

After I took the test, on November 10, 2001 I waited for the letter from the GED Testing Center. I knew if the envelope was thick, I had failed. So when I opened the mail box and saw the thick envelope, I knew that I had failed again. I did not open the letter immediately, I went to make some tea first. After I was in a better frame of mind, I read the letter. I missed passing by one point. To say that I was disappointed is an understatement. But this time I did not give up, and I called my tutor and re-enrolled in class. So I was back to studying again. I was really motivated now because I knew that the GED Test was being changed in 2002, and I could only take it one more time before I would lose all of my points and need to do the whole thing all over again. So on December 15, 2001 I was ready to try for the last time. I could not believe it when I got the results. I was afraid to look, but I picked up the envelope and started to rip it open very carefully. When I saw the word ìyesî on it, I knew that I had done it. How happy I was! I ran to my son who had stayed up until I got home to see if I had passed. This time I did pass. I jumped up and down with my son. It was so wonderful and we both were so very happy. He could go to bed now because then I was on the phone with Maria. I could not believe what wonderful news I had for her. The joy in her voice was a great sound to hear. I have been through some harder times with my learning, but this time we had a great conversation. Then I had to call other people to let them know the oh so very wonderful news.

So now I have my G.E.D. certificate framed and displayed at my desk. When I look at it, I am so happy. Life is so short, learn as much as you can so that you can go on to whatever you would like to do in the future to be happy.

Thanks So Much. Cece T.

July, 2002

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