LEXINGTON, S.C. — Lexington County School District One celebrated Adult Education graduation on August 1, 2016. Thanks to the opportunities afforded them through Adult Education during the 2015–2016 school year, 92 students can move on to higher education and higher paying jobs.
Completing a GED through Lexington District One’s Adult Education program looks different for every student who enters the classroom. Some balance family life with studies, while others hold down multiple jobs that cause them to study late into the night.
For Natali Coble, a recent graduate who spoke during the August ceremony, studying for her GED coincided with studying for a U.S. naturalization test. Describing her difficult childhood in Honduras, during which she often went without basic necessities, Coble inspired her fellow students not to give up in the face of adversity.
“I grew up with very few resources or opportunities,” she recalled. “I think that lack of opportunity created a hunger to work hard and capitalize on the ‘American Dream.’”
Coble decided to continue her education in order to have more career options, specifically in health care. Along the way, she put in extra hours to become a U.S. citizen and, not surprisingly, remembers feeling overwhelmed at times.
“While I was taking the three-hour night classes every Tuesday and Thursday, I was also working a full-time job and studying for my U.S. (naturalization) test,” she said.
The result of her determination and hard work was Coble earning her citizenship and her GED within a few weeks of each other.
“When I make a decision, I dedicate myself to it 100 percent,” she said.
One of Coble’s biggest supporters was her father-in-law. Coble said he pushed her to want a brighter future for herself up until his death this past February.
“The early part of the year was extremely emotional,” she recalled. “(After he passed away), I wanted more than ever to pass my GED and U.S. (naturalization) test to make him proud. He was with me all along the way.”
Myles Newman, Lexington District One’s coordinator of adult education, sees Coble as shining example of how to overcome the odds.
“She started from scratch coming from a foreign land,” Newman said. “She had to successfully deal with fear and uncertainty to achieve her goals and it is a compliment that she did so.”
Coble now wants to pay it forward to other students by sharing her story of persistence.
“I hope they saw all of the odds against me, and how challenging my specific situation was, so that they look at themselves and say, ‘If she can do it, so can I,’” she said.
With her citizenship and GED in hand, Coble is looking ahead to higher education and a career field in which she can help others. She’s currently considering the areas of radiology and nursing.