Sinead Anderson

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    Dropping out of school is something that no one expects. About 1 in 3 students drop out of school and this is on a daily basis. Never did I expect that I would be a part of that statistic.
    In 2005, I stopped attending school because I really was not getting the proper education, but I was fed up with the norm in Oakland period. The environment that school was held in was unconventional and un-recreational. Therefore, I decided that I was not going to have anything to do with it, so I dropped out. That didn’t take my mind off the bigger picture, which still was I needed to have a career, not a job and the only way I was going to get a career is to go to college. I knew that I had to get a job, so I started working at Safeway as a Courtesy Clerk at the age of 16 working 40hrs a week. In less than a year being the only girl in history of working in my store, I was promoted at the age of 17. At the end of the day, I was working at a job and it would never be my career so I had to get my mind back on track and get to thinking about how I was going to get my High School Equivalency and/or G.E.D.
    I went on a massive internet search trying to find out what type of school I could attend so that I could attend community college in fall 2008. My search was astounding; I found all kinds of institutions offering false diplomas that are called diploma mills and I also found a couple of schools offering G.E.D programs, but it clearly stated that you had to be 18. I called around asking several schools what was the state required age to take the G.E.D, they all said 18, or 17 and 10months, and I knew that I was neither. I decided to search a little deeper. I ended up going to the actual State of California G.E.D website and I looked up the age requirement; it clearly stated that you could be 17 with certain exceptions. I looked at those exceptions and I qualified.
    I then went back on the internet and this school called the East Oakland Youth Development Center popped up. It was a few miles away from my house so I called the center, inquired about the program, and they told me to come in for an orientation. I came in one afternoon and I just knew that this was for me. The instructor, Ms. Anana, was an angel sent from heaven. She knew what was to be expected on the test and from me so she tested me on what I did not know, then gave me packets to learn the information. She told me that I would be able to take the test in August, which was fantastic because classes started at all of the Peralta Colleges on Aug 20, 2008. She told me that I was ready. I was nervous because it had been less then a month that I had started going to the Center, and it was time for me to test. Ms. Anana picked me up and took me to the testing site and I was so grateful because and I had never seen a teacher more dedicated than her in my life.
    My experience with the E.O.Y.D.C has been a phenomenal one. They have a great experienced staff and they do not tolerate people who are not serious. The best thing that I can truly say is that the G.E.D. Instructor (Ms. Anana) actually cares about her students, and she is the best counselor even mother figure that some of the students could ever wish for. She is tough and over qualified for the job, and I am so honored to even know that a woman like that exists, let alone be in her presence. I will one day owe my career to the E.O.Y.D.C because this is where I started and I am so glad that I actually finished. My life has taken flight and every day I am excited to wake up because I am now an asset to my community and not a liability.

    I currently attend Merritt Community College and will be working as a Tutor next semester for Elementary Algebra (Math 201). I am currently receiving A’s in all my classes. I also will be working in the Admissions and Records office starting November 2008. I am taking Afram 30, Soc 1, Math 201, and Math Workshop. I have a busy life but I am grateful, thankful and happy. My pursuit of happiness has been a long one but I appreciate all my accomplishments so much more because I actually had to work hard to get to where I am today, and I stay positive because I know that I have a job to do. My major is Nursing, and I may switch to Health Sciences. I have every intention to getting my Doctorate Degree.

    Sinead Anderson,
    2008 GED Graduate
    Fall 2008 Merritt College Student

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