Women get fired and get high school diploma - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Women get fired and get high school diploma

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August 24, 2004

Camilla - Some south Georgia women's paths crossed in unfortunate circumstances. They were all laid off from the same textile company. All left with no job and no high school diploma.

Three women with similar terrifying situations.

Jean Walters says, "I was terrified because I was the sole supporter of my household."

Margie Spence adds, "It got to the point that I didn't know what was going to happen the next day, I did not know."

Vallery Hines explains, "After they laid us off at Darwood it gave me an opportunity to go back."

Go back to school. You see, when Spence, Walters and Hines got pink slips from Darwood Manufacturing Company they were lacking their high school diplomas.

Spence is 53-years-old. She admits, "Scary, terrified, but I can do it."

Scared because she hasn't cracked open a school book in 40 years. She dropped out in middle school. "It was family problems, I had no choice," Spence explains.

But, like her 61-year-old classmate, Walters, she has a choice now. Walters smiles, "I just knew that I had to prove to myself that you're never too old to start over and learn."

Start all over at the Workforce Development Center in Camilla where teacher LaDonna Delk preps students for the GED test. Spence says, "I found out about this course and it's the best thing that I've ever done in my life. You get the attention you need, I love it."

And the course is free. Hines already has her success story, she graduated and is now enrolled in college. Hines laughs, "A feeling of yes! I finally did it. It's my success story, I finally did it!"

Time ticked away for all three women, but finally they are back in the classroom. Teacher LaDonna Delk looks around and says, "Three success stories, wonderful success stories."

Their lives turned back upright. A lay off that turned into a blessing in disguise. "Now that I can see I can do better for myself, a factory job would not be satisfying enough for me," Hines smiles.

Spence and Walters have one more challenge and that's a math test. Spence adds, "I'm gonna make it."

Then they'll put on a one-size-fits all gown, all because they faced their challenges with complete confidence. When one door shut, another opened.

Spence and Jean Walters want to be nursing assistants. Vallery Hines may go into cosmetology.

The GED classes at the Workforce Development Center in Camilla are free.

Morning, afternoon and night classes are available to anyone over the age of 16.

posted at 5:05PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com