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The word “no” is a very powerful statement. It can tear you down and make you believe you are near your breaking point. “No, Abby, you can’t go back to school – you have a family to raise.”
Or the famous, “No, your test results are not up to standards.”
It would have been easy for me to believe all the people who told me “no” and to give up on school and my dreams.
However, when I was on the verge of accepting the “no” that I continuously received, the Lancaster Adult Education Program turned my life around by saying, “yes.”
In January 2014, I walked into the program scared and unaware of what to expect. I was still terrified of rejection and the possibility of never reaching my goals.
To my surprise, they welcomed me with open arms. Everyone was so understanding, and the atmosphere was always light and friendly.
There were many times I was discouraged and felt as if I wasn’t able to succeed. However, my math teacher – Ms. Barbara Gardner – would always put me to ease by saying, “Abby, you are not a quitter. Calm down and relax. If you put your mind to it, there’s nothing that can stop you.”
For the next couple months, I studied hard. At the end of my classes, I went to take my COMPASS test. I was so nervous, but I just kept replaying Ms. Gardner’s words of encouragement.
I took the test and passed everything with flying colors; well, everything except for math.
I was discouraged to say the least, but I was told not to be so hard on myself.
I studied my math even harder and went back and took it again and passed it with 19 points above what I needed.
I had overcome the first giant step of my journey, but I still wasn’t done. Dr. Linton and Mrs. McIlwain kept pushing me toward my goals.
The next step was the WorkKeys test – a timed test that showed my capability of working under pressure.
I was unsure of myself, but everyone at Adult Ed told me, “Stop doubting your ability to succeed. You can do this.”
I went in to take the test, and again I made above average.
The Lancaster Adult Education Program has helped me overcome my fear of failure and my self-doubt.
In contrast to what many people may believe, Adult Ed doesn’t just help people get a high school diploma.
The program helps with other types of educational assistance. I already had a high school diploma, and Adult Ed helped me with test preparation for college entrance exams like the SAT, ACT and COMPASS.
Thanks to the program, I passed the COMPASS and will enter York Tech this summer.
I’m so glad I was able to work with such an amazing group of people and achieve what I never believed I could.
If you’re looking for a sign to not give up, this is it. This program is a one-way ticket to reach your goals. Although my journey is far from over, I have a reason to keep going.
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy – I’m just saying it’s going to be worth it. I hope you, too, will reach your goals.
Thank you Lancaster Adult Education program for not telling me, “no, you can’t,” but for changing my life by saying, “yes, you can.”
Abby Lesso is a Heath Springs resident.