L a T o s  k a   P u l l u m 

LaToska came to X-Cel through the Dimock Center's Career Pathways class, a class taught by X-Cel instructors. After giving birth to her daughter during her high school years, LaToska couldn't find the time to get her high school degree, until now.

I got sick and tired of settling.

When my daughter was born I had to drop out of high school to care for her in the early months. When I went back to get my GED I couldn't pass it and eventually I gave up trying. I worked temp jobs and other low paying jobs to get me and my family by. One day I was watching TV and a commercial came on, "Are you sitting on your couch? Do you want to continue your education?" I hate that commercial but it gave me the realization that I had settled. I had settled for low paying jobs with no high school degree. I kept telling myself I couldn't do it.

I got sick and tired of settling. I made a phone call and dove in. I didn't allow myself to second guess the decision or allow myself to think that I couldn't do it this time. I got into the Career Pathways program and I learned that I had a learning disability. I know now that I don't learn the way everyone else learns or the way high school teachers taught. I need time to process information, I need to play with information and allow myself to completely understand the concepts behind what I am learning before I am comfortable with it. X-Cel gave me that opportunity. I passed my High School Equivalency Test (GED) in August of 2013, graduated from X-Cel in June of 2014, and have been enrolled in Bunker Hill's Administrative Information Management degree program since.

How did X-Cel affect your life in a positive way?

X-Cel allowed me to explore my options. I have the ability to continue my education, learn, and I've become a great role model for my children. My children can see that I am going to school after all these years and that will hopefully keep them from settling. It has made me feel a lot better about myself and I am trying to push that energy on to everyone around me.

What advice do you have to offer to people who are working towards their High School Equivalency Certificate?

Never give up. It's easy to get comfortable but you need to realize that you can do anything you want to with hard work and dedication. Nothing comes easy but keep going, even if it takes you 6, 7, or 10 years. Keep pushing until you are happy. Your success might encourage people around you to do the same. It's an uphill battle, but you can never give up.