From Adversity to Achievement: Tijuana Glass's Inspirational Path

Tijuana Glass’s journey at Rock Valley College is a testament to resilience and determination. Despite facing numerous challenges, including dropping out of high school and losing her sight at a young age, Tijuana never gave up on her dream of obtaining her GED.

Tijuana Glass

Tijuana Glass was a student speaker for the GED Completion Ceremony on May 16, 2024.

In 2004, amidst personal trials, Tijuana welcomed her son Agustus into the world, adding another layer of responsibility to her plate. Three years later, she faced yet another setback with a cancer diagnosis. Times were challenging, but thankfully Tijuana was completely healed of her cancer.

Eventually, Tijuana made the decision to complete her high school diploma. “In November of 2016, though incredibly nervous, I made a call to Rock Valley College Disability Support Services to inquire about GED classes,” said Tijuana. “I decided to finally go for it, and I started classes soon after.”

Tijuana found invaluable support and resources at RVC to aid her in her journey. With tools like the JAWS computer screen reader and a talking calculator, she embarked on her educational path with renewed hope.

“Fall registration in 2016 introduced our program to Tijuana Glass. It also began our first Adult Education journey with a blind student pursuing her GED,” said Linda Scherbarth, Adult Education & Literacy Instructor. “It took the “village” of Adult Education and Rock Valley College to make Tijuana's dream happen. The frustrations, the heartaches and the roadblocks we faced were so much easier with Tijuana's continuous positive attitude. Tijuana was persistent, determined, focused, and flexible. I'm sure all of us struggled to believe that we would see the day Tijuana took the stage and shared her success with the world. GED graduation 2024 is her time to shine.”

Linda supported Tijuana with unwavering encouragement and personalized tutoring. She went above and beyond, even visiting Tijuana at her home to provide additional support and create tactile learning materials. Tijuana tackled each subject, but struggled with math. Despite facing challenges, Linda's dedication never wavered, and Tijuana's persistence paid off when she passed her RLA, science, and social studies tests. After several attempts, Tijuana faced her math test once again and, on July 11th, 2023, achieved her long-awaited goal of earning her GED and high school diploma.

“Tijuana was a student I will never forget. It did not matter what situation came up Tijuana handled it with a smile,” added Pat Young, retired instructor. “She worked extremely hard to earn her GED. After she passed one test she would say “which test is next”? Of course, like everyone else math was an issue. I am amazed how Tijuana could understand some of the math problems. She would have to feel the problem on her special board to visualize how to solve the problem. She also had to figure out how to use the talking calculator. Tijuana is an inspiration for all GED students. It was an honor to have Tijuana in my class. I am so excited to help her walk across the stage to receive her diploma. I am so proud of her.”

Tricia D. Wagner, Director of Adult Education reflected on the pride of her department and the college for Tijuana’s accomplishments. “It has been an honor to assist her as she has made strides toward her educational goals, and it has been a pleasure to cheer her on as she achieved her Illinois High School Diploma. As I have worked with Tijuana, the words that always strike are “patience” and “perseverance.” Tijuana demonstrated admirable self-confidence throughout her time with us as a student. We often say, in Adult Education, that we believe in our students before they believe in themselves. With Tijuana, this was not the case. She, along with all of us, knew that she could realize this remarkable accomplishment. It was only a matter of time.”

Tijuana plans to seek a work-from-home secretarial job now that she’s completed her GED.

“Even when times get hard, try harder. Do your best, do not give up, and trust in the Lord and he will see you through.” Though all of her struggles and difficulties, she did not give up and encouraged everyone to do the same and never give up on their goals and dreams.”

Tijuana was a speaker for the GED Completion Ceremony on May 16, 2024.