Mr. Musgrave has an amazing story in that he never finished school, but instead ran off to Korea with the U.S. Marines where he was an aircraft electrician and an engine mechanic. He started flying with the Marines and over the next 55 years accumulated 18,000 hours in more than 160 aircraft.
Using adult education as a catalyst for change, Mr. Musgrave obtained a GED® diploma and went on to become the only astronaut to have flown in all five space shuttles resulting in six space flights. He has earned seven graduate degrees and 20 honorary doctorate degrees.
“Funding for adult education is critical to our nation’s success,” said Musgrave. “We must include everyone in helping them to achieve their educational goals, and we need to prepare them for life, for a career, and for college no matter where they are in their educational journey.”
Educate & Elevate advocate, Rachel De Vaughan, Ph.D., knows the power of adult education in reshaping one’s career path. Indeed, without support from educators at Mississippi Gulf Community College, she may have never made the transition from a respected McDonald’s franchise manager, with no high school diploma, to a state education director with a higher-education-focused Ph.D. from William Carey University.
De Vaughan recalls how bleak her future looked in her teenage years as family financial hardships made it difficult to focus on her academic studies.
“At a very young age, I was burdened with heavy responsibilities in caring for my younger siblings. I struggled in school because I was so tired I just wanted to sleep. My teachers were always frustrated with me because I never completed my homework,” De Vaughan says.
“Even if I did find a friend, we weren’t able to do the normal things that friends do because I could never afford to go anywhere when I was invited. So when my mom, gave me a choice of quitting school to work full-time; I chose to quit. No longer did I have to worry about what I was going to wear, or sit through another Algebra class, that I had failed twice. I started working at McDonald’s for $3.35/hr. and took advantage of every education and workforce program they offered while never looking back,” she adds.
But her career in food services took a big detour when a life-changing event in 1997 inspired her to achieve education goals that had long gone unfulfilled. She obtained here high school diploma and put herself on an educational path that resulted in an associate’s degree; bachelor’s degree; and, a successful and ongoing career stint in public education that has included the obtainment of a Ph.D.
“After almost 20 years working for McDonald’s restaurants throughout the U.S., and even abroad, I was ready to try something different for my life. So, I pulled that forgotten dream out of that secret place deep inside of me, and I applied for a teacher’s license. Wow! Here I was, teaching in a school, a real school, with real students. I was recognized both by my school and the district as a great educator several times,” says De Vaughan, now assistant state director for the Office of Adult Education in Mississippi.
Due to a variety of circumstances, I became a single parent working low paying jobs and barely managing, even after obtaining government assistance. I was without a high school diploma and had no higher education. There are not many options at this point for elevating yourself except to work at obtaining the credentials needed to get a better job and outlook on life.
I first came to HCC in 2015 and started with their online GED® study course. This was easiest for me since I could do it from home. After passing my GED® test I set my sights on higher education. I decided on the CMAA certification, certified medical administrative assistant. This is a noncredit program for busy adults. I was approved for a scholarship for this course and started immediately. After obtaining my GED® credential and completing my CMAA program I am happy to say that I am looking forward to my internship at Upper Chesapeake Hospital. This is where I hope to land my first job and continue up the line of promotion thru higher education.
I am also looking forward to showing my daughter a stronger, more independent role model. None of this would be possible without the adult education programs offered by Harford Community College. Without them there would be no hope for everyone who finds themselves without proper education later in life. Education is the key!
When Zenaida first came to Genesis Center, she didn’t know she had a gift. A talented writer, with a natural sense of rhythm and an imagistic mind, Z had gone 47 years without ever hearing anyone say, “You are intelligent,” or “You are a good writer.” But she is.
Through her writing, one discovers that there is quite a bit of depth to this woman—wisdom wrought from painful matters of having survived physical, sexual, and psychological abuse
Thanks to the flexible structure of the ESOL program for College and Career Readiness at Genesis Center, which affords the Learning Facilitator the freedom to tailor lessons to the individual needs of learners, as well as the time to offer office hours, Zenaida was given an ear. Having someone to listen, to encourage, and to challenge her, Zenaida blossomed.
Z’s appetite for learning seems to grow with every page she turns. The seed was planted when she read a short poem called “Imagine The Angels of Bread” by the great poet Martin Espada. The voice of the downtrodden rising up and becoming empowered to imagine feeding empty mouths with bread spoke to her.
Zenaida is still blossoming. Recently, she submitted a short story to a journal for publication. She has become a mentor to other students, who gather around her, asking for advice on their own writing. She has developed an educational plan, which includes going to community college, while volunteering at an organization that helps battered women. Above all, she has laid the foundation for being a productive member of society, one who contributes in many ways to the fabric of American culture.