By LaKeshia Knarr
FARWELL – April 25, 2017 was a special day for 20-year-old Keisha Gingerich.
That was the day she earned her diploma, albeit a few years after her original graduation date.
She was the first to earn a diploma after taking preparatory courses through the new Adult (General Education Development) GED Preparation and Basic Education Class offered in Renovo, according to Karen Wolf of Central Intermediate Unit #10. The CIU and Keystone Central School District partnered to begin offering the course last November and Keisha didn’t waste time enrolling.
“I made the decision to withdraw from high school because I had gotten pregnant with my daughter, Julie, who is now a very strong, polite and intelligent 2-year-old,” Keisha shared. Complications in her first trimester caused her to get behind in cyber school and she decided to focus her energies on her pregnancy and newborn.
“I always kept my dreams tucked away close and I never stopped working towards them,” she said. “When this program came to Renovo I knew it was my chance to really start working towards them.”
Keisha began attending the courses Nov. 13 and worked hard until she passed the exam.
“I attended a majority of the classes every Monday and Wednesday until I had passed all of the pre-tests and was ready to take the exams,” she said, noting she occasionally missed due to work obligations or childcare.
“The class was very helpful for me,” she said. “Mr. Delbert Welsh is very motivational and inspiring. He helps teach what you don’t know and answers every question you have.”
Keisha now has set her sights higher.
“This program gave me the little bit of help I needed so I can go to college,” she said, adding that she hopes to become a veterinary assistant. “To be a graduate is only a small step to the plans I have for the future of my family, but I have a sense of accomplishment and more drive and motivation to go to college.”
Beyond that, Keisha knows her hard work will not go unnoticed.
“It makes me feel as if, even though I am a young mother and wife, I can really achieve my dreams and prove to my daughter that no matter what life gives you, you can still reach your goals and be the best human you can be,” she said.
Keisha credits her daughter, husband Samuel, and parents, Tina Croak and Philip Croak Jr., for her successes. “These four people have driven me and continue to support me to achieve as much as possible.”
Keisha and her husband, Samuel, recently purchased a home in Renovo.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE GED CLASSES
The classes will take place Mondays and Wednesdays from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Bucktail High School, 1300 Bucktail Ave., and are free to attend. Offered in an “open enrollment” style, there is not a designated start and end date. Pre-tests are given to ensure learners are prepared for the General Education Development (GED) exam.
When students feel prepared, they sign up to take the exam at an approved Pearson VUE testing site, such as Lock Haven University. The exam costs $120, however CIU #10 offers a scholarship program for individuals who meet certain criteria and have participated in the preparation courses that can cover up to 50 percent of the exam fee.
The CIU #10 Development Center for Adults at 8 N. Grove St., Suite G, Lock Haven, continues to serve residents as well. To learn more about the programs, contact the CIU at the Lock Haven office, 570-893-4038, Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.