Diana Haverty of Bainbridge said those were just a couple of her feelings after passing the GED test.
Nevertheless, Haverty did not just pass the GED. She is the first student in Bainbridge State College’s Adult Education Program to have passed the new GED test, a test that is more challenging than the expired 2002 version. It only took her a little more than three months to do it.
With encouragement from her husband, Patrick, and her three children, Haverty is now finding that her pride in getting her GED is propelling her to further her education. It is also propelling her two daughters and her son to further their education.
“The things that I always told my children: ‘You can do this, you can do that,’ I had to tell myself,” she said of how the table was turned when her children and husband encouraged her as she had encouraged them all those years.
On May 12, she drove the short distance from her home and enrolled in Bainbridge State College, thinking she will pursue some type of business management degree. Scheduled to join her in the fall at Bainbridge State are her daughters, Meghan, 26, who plans to go back to school to become a dental hygienist, and Jodie, 19, who has a certified nursing assistant diploma and plans to study to be a registered nurse. Her son, Patrick, 25, is in the U.S. Navy and said he now wants to go to college as well.
Haverty dropped out of high school in 1988 when she became pregnant. She always thought she would go back to school but never did. Three kids later, she and her husband thought they could not afford for her to quit her job to study for the GED.
“I worked as a waitress, and it’s just a dead-end job. I always wanted to do something else, but I could never quit,” Haverty said. When Jodie graduated from Bainbridge High School last year, Patrick told her now was a good time.
“I just want to do something better than being a waitress. That’s all I have ever done, be a waitress or a cashier,” Haverty said.
Debbie McIntyre, director of the College’s Adult Education Program, said passing all the sections of the new GED test in a three-month period is exceptional. The current passing rate for the new test statewide is about 26 percent. Under the former test, it was more than 50 percent.
When a new person comes in to prepare for the GED, that person must take a battery of tests to determine their skill level in order to better prepare that student for the test.
“Most of our students score kind of in the middle. Diana scored pretty much at the top,” McIntyre said. “In all these years that she wasn’t in school, she definitely was using her brain. She hadn’t forgotten, and in fact, she has built on that knowledge she got in high school.”
Even though the material she studied was at times difficult to grasp, those in the Adult Education Center in mid-town Bainbridge were always willing and ready to help, Haverty said. She would spend four hours a day there except for Fridays for a total of 157 hours.
Whenever she would take a pre-test, the staff and instructors were always encouraging her, whether she passed, failed by a point or two, or failed by 50 points or more. She said all the sections on the GED are hard, but math was very difficult for her – making her really think about the answers instead of the old multiple-choice questions that a student could somewhat guess at.
“It was always comforting knowing that all these people were behind you and wanted you to succeed,” Haverty said. “I just never thought at my age that I could come in after being out of school for this long. And when I started, I really didn’t feel I would finish because I thought this was going to be way too hard, but when everybody is behind you so, it just makes you want to do better.
“It made me proud of myself,” the 43-year-old grandmother said. “It made me proud that I can go to my mom and say I finished.”
A new semester for GED classes will begin in July in Decatur and Early counties and the beginning of August in Miller and Seminole Counties. Decatur County will hold GED orientations for new students on July 8 and August 12. All new students will need a current photo id and those under 18 will also need parental permission and a high school withdrawal form. Please call 229-248-2517 for more information.