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A GED Can be a Stepping Stone to Higher Success

Lifestyle & Opinion

By Fred Arnold

Valee Nixon, a student at St. Petersburg College, graduated from the SPC GED program with honors, showing the community the kind of motivated students that come to campus.

At 32, Valee wanted to make a change. She wanted more from her life, she wanted more for her husband, and ultimately, she wanted to be happy.

“You make decent money bar tending,” Valee said, expressing the reason she stayed away from college for so long, “but after awhile, you have to do what you like.”

All blue hair and out going, one might not realize that anxiety played a role within Valee’s life, but she made it through the ups and downs with flying colors; and she did so with the support of St. Petersburg College.

“The best moment I had while attending SPC,” Valee said, as she tilted her head back, “had to be when I first started and I realized I can do it.”

Valee thanks Madera Evelyn, an advisor at the SPC Seminole Campus Student Support Center, for the shoulder to lean on during tough times.

Valee worked as a bar tender, which is a tough job that has tough hours that works to please sometimes infuriatingly tough customers. She now works for the SPC book store on the Seminole campus, and life, she said, is good.

“My marriage is knitting itself back together. I am working towards my goals,” Valee said.

One of those goals happened to be getting out of the state of Florida and away from the people who, she said, are rude and hateful. Her dream destination? Oregon, where she will use her degree in Biology to help her open a wild cat rescue.

“I love cats,” Valee said. “There will be many more cats in my future, but no children,” she finished, flashing an elegant, wistful smile.

Valee’s success comes from her motivation and drive, but she also knows the support of the GED program and staff has played a role. The GED Program at SPC lends its success to the Dixie Hollins Adult Education Center, the winner of the number one adult education program in the state of Florida. As a satellite classroom, SPC Seminole’s GED program highlights the strongest points that Dixie Hollins Center has to offer.

Jeani Chua, a GED instructor at the Seminole Campus, loves her job and loves to see students succeed. “It’s amazing the progress that is made by every student every day. I love the facial expressions when a student has mastered a specific skill or test.”

Valee’s accomplishments are ones people can look at and feel inspired by.

“If you want to go back to school, just do it,” she said. “There’s a lot of support at SPC. If I succeeded, you can.”

Valee and her husband Alex
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Read more from Fred Arnold, click here.

Article originally published on March 24, 2015.

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The Board of Trustees of St. Petersburg College affirms its equal opportunity policy in accordance with the provisions of the Florida Educational Equity Act and all other relevant state and federal laws, rules and regulations. The college will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or against any qualified individual with disabilities in its employment practices or in the admission and treatment of students. Recognizing that sexual harassment constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex and violates this Rule, the college will not tolerate such conduct. Should you experience such behavior, please contact Pamela Smith, the director of EA/EO/Title IX Coordinator at 727-341-3261; by mail at P.O. Box 13489, St. Petersburg, FL 33733-3489; or by email at eaeo_director@spcollege.edu.

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