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Student Success Story Michelle Kelley

Michelle Kelley


“I dropped out of school at the age of eighteen. At that time I enrolled in Forest Echoes GED class, which is now UAM College of Technology-Crossett. I attended for about two months and quit. My family and friends tried to talk to me about not going to school, but I really was not worried about it at the time. The only thing I wanted was to get married and have a family.

I got married June 18, 1994. Everything was going good, and I had Casey, our first child, on June 28, 1995. Justin, our second child, was born on August 25, 1997, and Dakota, our third child, was born on July 25, 1998.

During those years, Edward, my husband, would try to talk to me about going back to school. I did enroll several times in some different colleges on the Internet, but I would always quit. I really wasnt worried about going to school. I thought the only thing I needed to do was stay home and take care of my family.

As the years passed, I had to go to work. Naturally, the only job I could acquire was for minimum wages. That was barely enough to help ends meet. So this caused me to begin thinking. I knew that I needed to go to school but still just didnt want to.

When my children entered school and started having homework, I couldnt help them with it all the time. I either didnt understand or didnt know how to do it at all. That really caused me to start thinking about things. I felt like I was letting my boys down because of this. It bothered me to have to tell them to go see their daddy for help.

March 3, 2005, my husband fell twenty feet from the air and broke his heel and crushed another bone in his foot. At that time, I was working at a gas station. I quit my job to stay home and take care of him. He was off of work for about three months. During this time, I knew, without a doubt, that I had to go back to school. I asked myself this one question, What would I have done if he had gotten hurt really bad and not been able to go back to work? I could not get a good enough paying job to pay the bills and put food on the table.

In August, my boys returned to school and my husband back to work. I went to see my husband at work and told him that I was ready to go back to school. He looked at me and said, What is stopping you? I said, Nothing other than making a phone call and then getting there.

I called the school and talked with Mrs. Remona Bishop. She told me to come on out and take a few tests. When I arrived at the school, I was nervous. I went in and Mrs. Kathy Martin talked with me for a little while. Then she started my testing. It took two days to do the practice tests. When I completed them, Mrs. Martin sat with me and explained to me what I needed to work on and what all we were going to be doing.

I told Mrs. Martin and Mrs. Bishop that I was not smart enough to do this, and it was going to take me ten years to finish. Mrs. Bishop looked at me and said, Michelle, you are a very smart woman, and your scores are good enough that all you need is a little practice on a few things and you should be ready. I just kind of smiled and said, Okay.

They gave me some work, and I started working on it. I took some work home with me every night.






When my children came in from school, I told them that I was going back to school to get my education. They were excited and proud of me. Dakota looked at me and asked me if I had homework like them. I told him, Yes. So every night I would sit at the table with them, and we would all do our homework together. I enjoyed doing this with them. It helped me a lot also. My husband would help all of us with our homework. He was tired by the time we were all finished.

I remember sitting in class one day and crying because I didnt understand some math, Mrs. Bishop came over and talked with me about it. I told her that there was no way I was going to be able to do the problems because it was too hard. She said, Yes, you can do this. It is not as hard as you are making it out to be. She sat with me and explained it her way. Well, I never could get it her way. She told me as long as I could do the work and get the right answer that was all that counted.

Mrs. Martin helped me a lot with the science, social studies, and reading. I really didnt have that much trouble in those areas. But when I needed help, Mrs. Martin was there to help me and explain it to me.

I went to class for about a month and then took the official GED practice test. I stressed really bad over that test. When Mrs. Bishop came and told me that I was ready to take the real test, I was shocked. I didnt think I had done that good on the practice test. A few days later, Mrs. Bishop came to me with a date to take the GED test. I asked her if she really thought I was ready to do this; she assured me that I was ready.

It took me two days to take the test. It was hard but not as hard as I had thought. When I was finished with the test, the examiner told me it would be about twenty days before I would receive my scores in the mail. I said to myself that is not right. I wont do anything but stress over this. I waited as long as I could then I called Mrs. Tucker and asked her if she had anyway of telling me if I passed. She asked me for some information and checked my scores online. When she came back to the phone and told me that I had passed, I started to cry. I was so excited that I had accomplished my goal.

Mrs. Martin and Mrs. Bishop mean the world to me. They are like two angels who were sent to me to help me through this time in my life. I am now a paraprofessional at UAM-CTC and a part of the Adult Education team. I am honored that my teachers liked me and thought so much of me to have asked me to join them. I will never be able to express my thanks enough.

I will tell anyone who has not finished school that he or she needs to go back and get an education. It has made a big difference in my life, and I know it will in his or hers. The teachers and staff at this school are wonderful and are willing to help anyone achieve his or her goal in life.”