“I am 48 and just got my high school diploma. I finished with a 4.0 GPA. I stayed up until three in the morning to study. Math and science were the hardest part and I got help with those. One of my daughters is trying to get hers now because she saw me do it. If there is someone else thinking about getting their diploma, I encourage them to get it no matter how old you are.
I got pregnant at 16 and dropped out. I wanted to go back, but one year turned to two and two turned to three. At 48, I still didn’t have it. I was fired from my daycare job a few months ago because I didn’t have my diploma and the required paperwork. I had been working there since April 15, 2013, and was on my way home from my second job when my boss called to fire me. I knew anywhere else would require a diploma, so I got it. If he hadn’t fired me that day, I never would have stopped working to go back. Now I want to go back to school to be an X-ray technician.
Financially, things went from bad to worse. I was working for a cleaning service that ran into financial problems and let me go. That happened three weeks ago.
I can’t work a cashier job or a fast food restaurant because I need a job that I can work around my pain. I was shot in a drive-by shooting in Prichard in 1996. They shot three people that night. I was 25 and it messed my body up. I am terrified of doctors so I didn’t go. I didn’t know my intestines were twisted from the shooting. I got pregnant and doctors had to untwist my intestines. I lost the baby during that.
My son was incarcerated for murder. I am trying to get him on the right path because I want him to have his head on straight when he gets out. He has a murder charge and is in for 25 years. He had just turned 20. He was going the wrong way and probably wouldn’t be here today if he wasn’t in jail. I worked three jobs when my kids were young. I worked at a daycare, then went to Goody’s department store, then a cleaning job. I didn’t have enough time to raise my kids and my son got out of hand. I feel guilty about that, but I was doing the best I could to pay for rent and food for my kids. I advise anyone to stay at home with their children.
My 12-year-old daughter keeps me going. I want to do the best for her. My oldest daughter helped me raise my children. She struggled in high school but put herself through college. She is my child and inspires me to do better. I have been cleaning for years, but now I am doing it on my own. I have one contract, but I need more to support my family and make up for the jobs I lost. It is hard to start a business like this when people don’t know or trust you. I am going through a job readiness program and they told me to do it the right way and get licensed and bonded and get my permit. I am doing that next year.
My mom had her children young and did things on her own, too. She taught us right and we always went to church. God is always there with me, no matter how hard things have been. I wake up every morning thanking God for the day and thinking about cleaning and the things I will do during the day. I am organized and have structure and know what is happening every hour. My mama taught us do it right the first time and you won’t have to do it again. I hope my kids learn that lesson from me.“