Published on June 30th, 2017 | by editor0
Wright’s Madelin DeJesus Inspires Fellow Grads as GED Completion Ceremony Speaker
Just over a year ago, in May 2016, 41-year-old Madelin DeJesus woke up in a hospital and she didn’t know how she got there. After years of struggling with depression following the loss of her two children – and then, subsequent drug and alcohol abuse – a night of excessive drinking landed her at rock bottom.
She was determined to change.
Through a program at her church, Madelin regained her confidence, sense of purpose and control over her life. She decided that earning her high school equivalency (GED) would be an important step to help her move away from lower-paying hourly jobs toward a more stable and life-affirming career.
In October 2016, the Humboldt Park native enrolled in City Colleges’ free GED classes at Wright College, where she initially tested at a 6th-grade reading level. In just eight months, she progressed to beyond a 12th-grade level and was selected to address her fellow graduates at City Colleges of Chicago’s GED completion ceremony on June 29.
“One thing I realized about myself is how much I love to read and learn,” she said. “Now, one of my goals is to learn something new every day.”
Not only will Madelin earn her GED certificate, but as a participant in City Colleges’ Health Care Bridge program, she also earned an advanced certificate in First Aid and CPR. In addition to providing GED exam preparation, CCC’s Health Care Bridge program introduces students to health care careers and helps them gain important job skills and certifications.
Madelin is currently taking the College Success course at Wright College that will prepare her to enroll in credit courses and pursue an associate degree. Because she wants to help others rebuild their lives, she is considering a career in addiction counseling or nursing.
She credits her growth and progress to support she receives from her religious faith and community, family and friends, as well as her classmates, who she says saw her as both a teammate and a “mother figure.”
“We were all different ages and had different backgrounds, but we were all determined so we pushed each other to succeed,” she said. “We worked very well as a team – we encouraged, supported and loved one another.”
In her GED ceremony remarks, she thanked her program instructors and reminded her fellow graduates to stay positive: “Never doubt yourself, or think you’re too old. Don’t let anybody tell you different. I am standing here now to prove them wrong,” Madelin said. “It takes courage to stay strong against all odds. You just have to believe.”