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GED Leads to College and Dream Job 

Earning a GED enabled Olney resident Ashlyne Denzler to land her dream job.Ashlyne Photo

“I always wanted to do hair, nails and makeup, and now I am,” said the 25-year-old, who is employed at Serenity Escape Day Spa in Olney. “It’s a great feeling. I always wanted to make people look pretty.”

Denzler’s journey to her new career began in January 2013, when she decided to enroll in Olney Central College’s free GED classes. Denzler, who left high school at 17, said she had started GED classes before, but was unable to follow through.

“Before, I thought I had better things to do,” she said. “But, I decided I needed to come back and get my degree. My boyfriend was there to support me in this and he helped me to finish. The GED teachers also helped and supported me. They told me I could do it.”

While preparing for her GED, Denzler also participated in the Learning Skills Center’s Transition Skills Class. The course assists students as they transition from GED classes to college courses or the job market. The class covers a variety of topics from applying for financial aid and taking the COMPASS Test to resume writing and career planning. The class also assists students with setting goals.

After earning her GED degree, Denzler enrolled in OCC’s Cosmetology Program. She started classes in August 2013.

“A lot of my classmates helped me,” she added. “People supported me at school and at home.”

Denzler’s hard work and dedication also qualified her for a scholarship OCC awards to GED graduates who want to continue their education. Students, who meet the criteria, can receive $1,000 per semester for two semesters to cover their tuition costs.

“I was super excited to get the scholarship,” she said. “It meant I didn’t have to pay. It really helped.”

Denzler graduated from OCC in May and started her job the next day.

“They put me to work from day one. I do all kinds of things from highlights and haircuts to nails and facials,” she said. “Earning my GED helped me to succeed at what I wanted to be. Now, I wish I had started when I was younger. Cosmetology is hard, but it is also a lot of fun.”

Denzler encourages others without a high school diploma to enroll in GED classes and begin pursuing their dreams too.

“Getting your GED will inspire you to do whatever you want to do,” she said. “Take advantage of the opportunity and grab hold.”

OCC will offer free GED test preparation classes from 5 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning Oct. 21. The classes include a general review of test subjects and the books are free. Eight-week daytime classes start Oct. 20 and include math, reading, science, social studies, English and the Constitution.

To register or for more information, call 618-395-7777, ext. 2267, or toll-free 1-866-622-4322.

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