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Mother and Daughter Earn GEDs Together

Mother and Daughter PhotoWhen health issues forced Teresa Acord to give up her factory job, she chose to complete her GED and even convinced her daughter, Lauren Ireland, to return to school as well.

“I talked her into doing this with me and it was great,” Acord said. “There was a lot of teamwork. We helped and supported each other through the program.”

Ireland added, “I had lost a good job and decided this was the time to earn my GED. I had always said I would go back when my kids were in school. They were, so I knew it was time.”

The pair enrolled in the Learning Skill Center’s GED classes at Olney Central College in August and completed their testing in November. They were among 30 students who participated in OCC’s winter GED graduation.

“I’m proud of myself and my accomplishment,” said Acord, of Olney. “I was able to come back and finish my degree in just three months.”

Acord, who left high school at 16, admits she was nervous about returning to the classroom after 35 years.

“I thought I would be around all these younger students, but I discovered I wasn’t the only one coming back. There were a lot of older students,” she said.

Acord praised both the GED program and its instructors.

“The teachers were wonderful,” she said. “They encouraged you and worked with you one-on-one. Without them, this wouldn’t be possible.”

“They were very supportive,” Ireland, of Newton, added. “I was really impressed with the entire program. If I had known it was going to be like this and be this easy to come back to school, I would have done it 10 years ago.”

Ireland and Acord also participated in the Learning Skills Center’s GED Health Care Bridge Program. The 10-week class provides contextualized instruction, career development and transition services for students wishing to pursue health-related careers.

Acord and Ireland enrolled in college classes at OCC this spring. They plan to enter the nursing program and are currently taking prerequisite courses.

“Mom and I talked about it a long time and we decided to continue school together and study nursing,” Ireland said. “I have four kids and a nursing career will enable me to support them.”

Acord and Ireland are encouraging others who need to earn their GEDs to contact OCC’s Learning Skills Center and enroll in the upcoming classes.

“I feel blessed,” Ireland said of earning her degree. “I feel like this is a new chapter in my life. This is a chance to show my kids that anything is possible at any age.”

To learn more about OCC’s GED classes, call 618-395-7777, ext. 2267, or toll-free 1-866-622-4322.

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