Tomeka used to cry at graduations. “Not because I was happy for my friend or family member," she says, "but because I wanted to hear that music played for me.” Later this spring, Tomeka will hear that music played for her at the YWCA GED® graduation.
Tomeka was raised by her grandparents. In high school she got behind in classes and could not catch up. She dropped out of school in the 11th grade. “ I worked in restaurants for a while,” Tomeka explains. “I got married when I was 24, it was an abusive marriage which I finally ended,” she continues. She also worked as an attendant at a laundromat for 8 years.
Now she has a two year old son. “I want to be a good mother in every way,” Tomeka explains. “Good jobs are especially hard to find without a diploma or GED® credential. I knew I needed help,” she notes.
Tomeka called the YWCA and made an appointment to take a practice test. She found out that essay writing and English were her strengths, while math, science and social studies were areas where she needed work. She attended YWCA GED® classes every Monday and Wednesday in North Nashville, starting in July, 2010. “Sometimes I got discouraged but my teacher encouraged me and gave me one-on-one help before and after class,” Tomeka recalls. She took the GED® exam on December 11 and found out she passed in early January.
She will start Nashville State Community College in the fall. Where will Tomeka be in five years?
“Being the best parent I can be, owning my own home, being an excellent nurse and encouraging everyone to take the GED® exam,” she concludes.