Return to Headlines

GED Student Overcomes Struggles, Graduates Within 2 Months at Newtown Campus

GED Student Overcomes Struggles, Graduates Within 2 Months at Newtown Campus


Melissa Hedden always knew she had a shot at greatness if she put in the work. Though she faced many bumps in the road (often outside of her control), she successfully found her way down a challenging path.

Melissa dropped out of high school at the age of 15. She worked many odd jobs. She knew she was capable of more but just needed an opportunity to prove herself. Melissa was thrilled when that opportunity presented itself. She was optimistic, confident and jumped at the chance to apply for a job that would change her life, or so she thought.

Unfortunately, without a high school diploma, it didn’t matter how well Melissa could do the job because in order to apply, she needed to have a GED®.

This obstacle didn’t stop Melissa. Instead, it gave her more incentive. In fact, Melissa began researching GED® Programs immediately. As a mother, she wanted to provide a better life for not only herself, but more importantly for her children.

“I emailed Ms. Susan and I got a reply the same day. But with kids in different schools and life in general, I would forget to reply. But Ms. Susan wasn’t having that. ‘Melissa, I was wondering when you were going to call me? Melissa, I know you really want to do this, call me soon!’ So, I finally did. And I got the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Melissa struggled in both a traditional high school setting and in a traditional GED® Program, but found STC Newtown to be the perfect fit. She enjoyed how she had one-on-one support as she prepared to take the GED Test.

“I was introduced to one tutor after the next. After covering 3 out of the 4 subjects, I ended up on my most dreaded subject. Math. The deadline for passing the test was in less than 5 weeks. When Mr. G., my other math tutor said his introduction, I began crying uncontrollably and left. I cried the whole way home. Ms. Susan called and emailed ‘You Come back! We will do everything we can to get you prepared in time.’

The next day, slightly embarrassed, I sat with Mr. Joe, an absolutely amazing and kind volunteer tutor. I had previously warned him that I was horrible in math. He asked me if I like puzzles. Suspiciously I asked, ‘What kind?’

‘Any kind.’ He said. ‘Oh, well actually I love puzzles.’ He smiled and said I would be just fine. Next, I had to face Mr. G., but he was kind and patient.”

After working with Mr. G. and Mr. Joe on math, the day had come to take the Math Test, eight days before graduation.

“I was given clear instructions from Ms. Susan, Mr. G. and Mr. Joe. I was to call immediately. I sat outside the test site and I kept replaying what they kept telling me. ‘You’re going to do just fine.’ It didn’t feel fine. After the test, I had a sense of dread. I cried the whole way to my car. Then, I got notification that my score was ready.

With my thumb hovering over the ‘See Scores’ button, I just pushed it. When I saw my score, I made my phone calls. I passed! College level. I couldn’t have done it without them. Without all of them.”

After only 2 months of preparation, she completed the GED® Program. She is currently enrolled at the State College of Florida working to get her bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Administration, although she is considering either changing her major, double majoring or adding a minor in Sociology with a focus on Ethics, a class she has grown to love. While math is still a struggle, she has the help and support she needs to continue with her education.

She wants to help make the world a better place and “leave a legacy my children can be proud of.” None of these doors would have been opened had she not gotten her GED®.

Because of this ripple effect, Melissa has decided to start a Nonprofit to provide Graduation Photos for students who complete Adult Education/Alternative programs since they missed out on that in high school.

“This school, Ms. Susan and all of the amazing teachers who volunteer make the difference. Every day seeing these wonderful people eager to help someone else make it, when there are countless other things they could be doing with their time. There are just no words that can adequately express my thanks to them.”

Lead the way to a better future with Suncoast Technical College's GED® Program. Click HERE to learn more or call 941-924-1365 / Ext. 62390.

Article by Micah Crosby
September 8, 2021