June 5, 2018

“If you had asked me, when my journey with Never Too Late started, if I would be in front of a crowd giving a speech, I probably would have laughed. But I guess things change; I know I surely have. When I first showed up to the NTL program, I was in a terrible headspace: self-doubting, self-loathing. I really didn’t think I was smart enough or strong enough to make it through this. Add a dash of social anxiety and you have the recipe for one scared kid. When I was in high school, I had a terrible time with bullies and depression, so for me walking in to class was like walking back into that. It took me a little while to even start talking to my classmates, but I came to realize that nobody in that room was there to judge or belittle anyone. With the support of our amazing teachers Ryan and Jeb, the wonderful program coordinator Hannah, our tutor Chris, and of course my fellow classmates, I turned from one of the shyest and quietest people in my class to extremely sociable, which is a nice way to say really loud!

Before I achieved my GED through the program, I was ashamed that I hadn’t finished high school and often lied about it. I felt like I wasn’t good enough or smart enough to ever end up achieving my GED. Through the program I got something I hadn’t gotten from any other of my teachers: support and encouragement. Ryan and Jeb are not simply great teachers, but great people who I look up to immensely. They don’t just want their students to succeed in the classroom, they want them to succeed in life.

Now that I have achieved my GED, I have the opportunity to go to post-secondary and really use my knowledge to find my way in the world, wherever that may take me. I can truly say that this program has been one of the best experiences I’ve had in my entire life. Not only did I make some new friends, but I found a new family I didn’t know I was looking for. Because at the end of the day Ryan, Jeb, Hannah, Chris, and the NTL Fall 2017 class truly have become like a family. I want to thank them for showing me that although we didn’t spend years together, we bonded like I didn’t believe was possible for me.”