GED Means Opportunity

Rock Valley College Adult Education has the power to transform lives and kickstart a path forward for graduates. For Verna Curry, it has done just that. Since a young age, Verna has put her family before herself and her education. But this year, Verna was finally able to make her education a priority, and now nothing is stopping her from moving forward.

Her journey to get to this point shows an outstanding commitment to her children and family. When Verna was sixteen, she lived in California and became pregnant with her first child. Despite becoming a mother while still in high school, Verna was able to stay in school. When she was a senior and almost done with her high school education, she and her daughter became homeless, causing them to move back to Rockford to live with Verna’s mom.

“My goal when I moved back was just getting on my feet, getting a job, and getting my own place. School was the furthest thing from my mind,” said Verna. “I was only two months away from graduating and two and a half credits short of getting my high school diploma.”

Verna continued building her family, having five more children and even taking in two of her nephews after her sister passed. “When I look back on not finishing high school now, it makes me a little sad because I’m always stressing to my children how important education is,” said Verna. “I felt like I had missed an opportunity, and it was always one thing after another getting in my way. I’ve applied to RVC in the past and even took a few courses at RVC over the last several years but was never able to complete it.”

Verna is now embracing her opportunity for education at the age of forty-seven with eight children and eight grandchildren. “I knew getting my GED was something that needed to be done, and I was determined to do it. Nothing was going to stand in my way this time,” said Verna.

Verna enrolled in RVC’s GED program in January of this year. After losing her job in November, Verna applied for a position at a company that she really wanted to work at, but because she didn’t have her high school diploma, she wasn’t able to get the job. After that, Verna said, “I called RVC that same day and signed up to take the assessment for the GED and signed up for classes after that.”

And since then, Verna has flown through the program.

“Verna was such a special student,” said Lori Romero, RVC Adult Education Instructor. “She put her wants and needs on the back burner and took care of her family for many years. When I met her, it was her time to put herself first. I was so impressed and proud of her determination and perseverance. She was one of those students that you never forget.”

We asked Verna what getting her GED means to her and her answer was opportunity.

“So many opportunities have come about in just the past month since receiving my GED. Job opportunities, career opportunities, college opportunities,” said Verna. “So many doors have been opened that were closed before, and I didn’t realize how much more I could do with my GED.”

When Verna started her journey to get her GED, she was only focused on getting a job. Now she’s enrolled in college classes to get a Medical Administration Certificate and her Associates Degree and building a career for herself.

Verna’s success shows that it’s never too late to put yourself and your education first.

“Life happens, there are going to be obstacles, and there will be things that make you want to stop, but when you’re focused, and you have a goal set for yourself, don’t let anything or anyone stand in your way,” said Verna.

Verna completed her GED in March and is celebrating her accomplishment at RVC’s GED Graduation on May 12. She even has the honor of being one of the student speakers for the ceremony.

“To be here now and to be able to say I have my high school diploma and am a college student is amazing,” said Verna. “It is amazing.”