On August 20th, students in Vita’s Literacy program gathered with teachers, tutors, staff, board members, and their families to celebrate the hard work they have put in throughout the past year.
“It is never easy to be an adult student,” noted Program Director Kathy White. “You have jobs, families, stresses, responsibilities.” With these demands, adult students often struggle to find the time to study, let alone the energy. Kathy pointed out that Vita’s students are a powerful example of perseverance. Most are not native English speakers, and all of them face obstacles in their journey, but they don’t let that stop them. “This is what it’s all about,” said High School Equivalency teacher Paul Connolly, “…everyone here is persistent and motivated.”
That understanding was also found in the words of the students themselves. When asked what advice she would give to others in her position, student Dominique Collette wrote, “Do not feel discouraged, passing your GED will take time…Take the time to study and review, it really helps in the long run.”
A powerful example of perseverance came from Jessica Cagnetti, who shared her story. Her mother, anticipating her graduation from high school, had bought her a class ring to celebrate. However, Jessica dropped out before she finished. She put the ring away in her jewelry box, where it stayed as a symbol of a decision she would long regret. Now, however, that has changed. This year, after long effort and several attempts, Jessica passed all of her High School Equivalency tests. At the celebration, her mother and fiancée watched proudly as she stood in front of the group and finally put on the ring her mother had given her years ago, knowing that she had earned it.
It is these moments that make working at Vita special. What makes education so important is that it gives people like Jessica the power to transform their own lives, pursue their dreams, and become who and what they want to be.
To those who have not yet achieved their goals, whatever they may be, we say: persevere. We believe in you, and we will be here to help you learn.