Athens County Job and Family Services
The Work Station is located at
2013 Athens County ABLE Commencement Ceremony
The graduates of the Athens County Adult Basic and Literacy Education (ABLE) Class of 2013 overcame some huge obstacles in order to earn their GEDs.
The ABLE program operates out of The Work Station in The Plains and held its graduation ceremony at The Plains Elementary School on Friday, May 31. All of the GED graduates from the last year were invited to attend the ceremony, which featured the remarks of students Shanda Bolin and Antwane Eatmon.
“I had a really rough time growing up,” Bolin told the audience. When she was in eighth grade she was diagnosed with ADHD, which made school difficult for her. The death of her father was also extremely hard on her.
Bolin dropped out of school and gave up on life for a while thinking that she couldn’t do much of anything, she said. When she decided it was time to make some changes, she visited The Work Station and spoke with teacher Scott Hatfield about the GED program.
“He made me feel like I could do this,” Bolin said. Earning her GED will help her with career and with continuing her education, and it also did a lot to help her self-confidence. She is sad that her father was not able to see her receive her GED, but she thinks a lot about the lessons that he taught her.
“He always taught me that nothing comes easy,” Bolin said.
Bolin thanked her mother, family members and friends for their support, and then offered her own words of encouragement for the other graduates.
“You can do anything, I promise,” Bolin said.
Eatmon said that he went back to get his GED at the age of 37 for one main reason.
“I want my kids to be able to look up at me and be proud of their dad,” he said.. Eatmon lives in Alabama and was in Athens County for his job when he visited The Work Station. He enrolled in the GED program and then remained in the area for an extra time while he finished the program.
“I slept in my car a lot of the time that I was here,” Eatmon said. He didn’t let his temporary lack of housing stop him, though, and he put a lot of time and effort into preparing for the test. The only family member that he told about the GED program was his mother, and he is planning on surprising his wife and children with the good news when he returns home.
Another graduate who worked extremely hard to earn her GED is Amy Geer. After her struggles with standardized tests kept her from receiving her high school diploma, she enrolled in the ABLE program in 2003. She studied diligently and did well on most parts of the test, but was unable to pass several times due to her problems with math.
“I didn’t give up,” Geer said. Now that she has finally earned her GED, she hopes to eventually go to college. Geer added that she is thankful for all of the help she received as she went through the program.
“I really like The Work Station,” Geer said.
Alicia Marrara said that is was very important to her to earn her GED.
“You can’t get a job without it,” Marrara said, adding that she hopes to eventually go to college.
For Jonathan Guseman, seeing his friends graduating from Athens High School motivated him to earn his GED.
“I want to get a good job,” Guseman said. He hopes to now work and save some money so that he can go to college. Guseman added that he is thankful for all of the support and assistance he received from the staff at The Work Station.
“They were not judgmental at all about how I left school,” he said.
Jasmine Johnson also hopes to eventually go to college now that she has earned her GED. She said that her children were her main motivation for enrolling in the program.
“I want them to see that I could achieve things and that they can, too,” Johnson said.