ARA students earn GEDs, move forward with new confidence
For release: May 20, 2011
Latasha Beechem may have doubted her future when she left high school without a diploma. But today she is overflowing with confidence and eager to take on the next challenge in life because of her time with Community Renewal’s Adult Renewal Academy.
She was one of seven students recognized at a spring banquet celebrating student accomplishments from the past year.
“I wanted to change my life and better myself for my son and give my son a good life. I don’t want him to grow up struggling like I did because of a lack of education,” said Latasha, who wants to be a registered nurse.
A total of 31 students have now earned their GED from the academy, which meets in Community Renewal Friendship Houses and other locations in Shreveport and Bossier City. The Adult Renewal Academy started in 2003 to help adults of all ages broaden their education. Classes in math, reading, life skills and more are taught by certified instructors, including some provided by the Bossier and Caddo Parish school districts.
“I am so proud. This has been an incredible year. Our students have so much dedication and worked so hard. They made astounding progress,” said Gloria Millender, ARA coordinator.
“Many are going on to college or trade school. Some of them made history in their family by being first to get their GED and that is incredibly rewarding.”
Marvin Lane, who dropped out of school in the 10th grade, was unable to find work because of his lack of education. He signed up for the ARA classes at Noel United Methodist Church and earned his GED at age 36. He then started computer classes.
“They are genuinely concerned here. Anyway they can help you, they will. That really motivated me to keep going,” he said. “A lot of people in my family did not graduate and me graduating has motivated other people in my family. I have young kids, too, and me coming here also motivates them.
“Now I am going the right direction instead of the wrong direction. This is something that I accomplished that I wanted to accomplish for many years. It made me feel very proud.”
Shanaivius Lofton said she needed a GED to reach her goals.
“I want to move on further in life, beyond working at fast food restaurants. I want to work in the medical field,” she said. “This made me want to improve myself and it helped me spiritually. There was just something about the Adult Renewal Academy that really got my attention.”
Zavien Warren said attending the ARA and earning his GED made a huge difference in his life.
“They show you real love and they really do care about you. I worked so hard for my GED and I was so excited when I got it. Now I want to go to a trade school and get employed and get a career going,” he said. “This is better than regular school. They really want to build a friendship with you. They show you attention and make you feel like you are somebody.”