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Midland College’s GED® classes set student on college path January 08, 2020

The image to use for this article. Listing image managed through RSS tab. Kaitlin Parker

When Kaitlin Parker was a 16 year-old high school junior, she got a job and quit school. She was pregnant with her son.

“I raised my baby the best way I knew how,” Parker said. “I quit school and got a job. My mom took on the role of second parent and partner for me. I never felt like a single mom because I had her. I am incredibly lucky. I know a lot of teen moms do not have that support. She showed me how to be a great mother. When my son started kindergarten last year, I decided to get my GED® with the help of Midland College’s free preparation classes.  My goal was to create a better life for our family.” 

Midland College (MC) offers prep classes for the Texas Certificate of High School (TxCHSE) test, formally known as the GED® test in Midland and Fort Stockton.  Classes are offered in English and Spanish to people 17 years of age and older who have not completed high school.

“MC’s GED® classes are so flexible,” Parker said. “As a student you have so many options. You can take the prep courses completely online, or in traditional class settings in the mornings or evenings. I went to class on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the mornings while my son was at school.  I could still pick him up, help him with his homework and cook dinner. I did not miss out on any family time. There were other students in my class who worked night shifts, took a nap, woke up and were there at 9:00 a.m. Those fellow students were really inspirational.”

“The instructors, Lauraine Baily and Jenny Rhoads, essentially start from day one tackling basic addition and basic grammar,” Parker remembered. “I was out of school for so long and could not remember how to divide without a calculator when I started MC’s prep classes. Every day the teachers went over another chapter until we learned everything you would have learned in high school, but at a faster pace.”

Parker passed all sections of the tests with flying colors.

“On each section of the test I ended up scoring in the 70th percentile because of the extensive prep that I had,” Parker said.

The instruction did not stop when Parker passed the test.

“The instructors showed up to class every day after the GED® curriculum was finished to prepare us for the Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSI) which determines the appropriate level of college course work for incoming college students. They did not have to provide that support; they did it out of the goodness of their hearts. I was able to knock out the TSI in one sitting because the material was fresh on my mind after these classes.”

Parker is now a student at MC, taking her prerequisites and looking to transfer into the nursing program. She attributes her success not only to MC’s prep program but also to her family. Parker is so grateful for her family’s encouragement.

“I was only able to pursue my education with my family’s support,” Parker said. “When my husband and I both lost our jobs, we were not sure what to do. My ‘Pepa’ [grandfather] paid off the loan on my car so we did not have to stress. Thanks to him, we were able to afford living on just my husband’s income while I went to MC to prepare for the high school equivalency test.

“I know that there are other people who do not have the family support I do, and their journey is filled with many more obstacles. However, the instructors and support staff in the program encourage all of us and instill in us the power to change our lives. I have been blessed to have a family that has picked me up and made it easier for me to change mine.”

Parker knew for a long time that she needed to obtain a high school diploma, but it just seemed like an inconvenience.

“Losing my job was a wakeup call,” explained Parker “I thought of the worst-case scenario, ‘What if this happens again? I have to get an education so I can get a job.’ I do not want to be bartender or waitress. I am a Mom. I want to do something my son can respect. I had to show up for myself. No one else was going to do it for me. At the end of the day without an education, you are only hurting yourself.  Midland College can help.”

For more information on MC’s free high school equivalency preparation classes visit midland.edu/ged or call (432) 685-4700.

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