Zacoria Hills-Edwards

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    The pursuit of happiness is different for every human being, and for each person it consists of different trials, with a different set of problems at different times. One thing I’ve noticed is that no matter how different we all are, everyone must go through it.

    My pursuit to happiness began when I was in seventh grade. I was expelled from middle school for poor attendance. Back then I couldn’t see how this would affect my whole life. Since then, I have been to several different schools, and have had to leave them for reasons like fighting with other students, and the frequent moving my family and I did. In 2007, after finding out I wasn’t receiving any credits for being at Patterson High, I decided to call it quits and dropped out of high school. At the time, I had lofty aspiration yet didn’t think twice about leaving school. As time went by, that changed for the worst.

    I began to realize that I was changing physically and mentally. I had no friends because I wasn’t in school, I couldn’t get a job because no one wanted to hire a high school drop out, and the dreams I used to speak of became nonexistent. I became depressed; I didn’t like who I was anymore, and I began to pity myself. I didn’t realize how obvious my depression was to everyone else until I got a call from my cousin who I was supposed to be graduating with this year. She spoke about how she had noticed the way I’ve changed and why. She went on about programs that help people get their GED’s. With my mom’s inspiration and my cousin’s encouraging words, I enrolled into the EOYDC GED Preparation Program and stated on my pursuit to happiness.

    The very first thing I realized about the GED program at the EOYDC is how all the students were focused on the big picture. Besides making me feel welcomed to the class, the staff at the Center helped me out in many other ways. They helped prepare and pay for the test, and Ms. Anana helped me come up with the all-star plan that would help me get my GED before the fall semester started at AAU. I don’t think that I will ever forget that day I almost missed taking my math and reading tests.

    I woke up early that morning with the impression that I had a ride to the EOYDC. Ms. Anana would be leaving to take us to the test site at 11:40 a.m. I found out a little too late that I didn’t have a ride, so I ran to the bus stop just in time to miss the bus! I was so upset, but I was determined to get there so I waited for the next bus, which didn’t come until 11:40. After that, I still had to wait on a transfer bus for half an hour. Unfortunately, I realized that I had lost my transfer, and had no money to pay my fare. By this time, I was crying. Just then, I saw an old friend from one of the many high schools I’d attended. Of course, he asked why I was crying and I told him. He was kind enough to give me his transfer, so I was back on my pursuit.

    Now, this is usually the express bus, but today the driver stopped to pick up everyone, including a whole field trip of kindergarten students, who would have to get off of the bus to allow a power chair passenger on, and then board the bus again, only to have to get off at the next stop to allow the power chair passenger to get off, and again re-board the bus.

    When I finally arrived at the EOYDC, it was 12:46 p.m. Ms. Anana had already gone to the Castro Valley Adult School to drop off the other student who was testing. At that moment I broke down into tears. I was ready to quit for the fifth time that day. But not a second later, the receptionist had found someone to take me to the test site, and Mr. Dwight got me there five minutes early! If it wasn’t for Ms. Anana and the EOYDC staff, I would have not been able to call myself a graduate today.

    I can happily say I have big plans for the future. I will be attending the Academy of Arts University of San Francisco in September to study fashion design and merchandising. The EOYDC has played a huge role in my life. I will never forget the people who helped me and all the support I’ve received.

    Just a few weeks ago, getting my GED seemed so far away and now it’s in my hands. I really do believe that I can do anything that I want to do, and I know for sure that God is on my side because he was there working it all out for me through it all, even when I doubted Him. He showed up right on time to make me be on time. This is the driving element to my pursuit of happiness.

    By Zacoria Hills-Edwards

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