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Impact  >  Student Story



With her 30th birthday approaching, Channelle was hitting a wall. Her son was about to start kindergarten and the job she was working wasn’t going anywhere. She started asking herself, “What’s next?”

Channelle had always thought of herself as smart (she speaks multiple languages) but she didn’t take school seriously when she dropped out at the age of 16. Last year, she decided the best way to move forward would be to go back to school and get her GED®. She tried Durham Tech’s program but needed more personalized instruction, so she went online to look for other options and stumbled upon the Durham Literacy Center. 

While studying for her diploma with Durham Literacy, Channelle was also going through chemotherapy for a relapse of cancer, which had first occurred when she was just 14. She didn’t think about her health problems while she was in class, though. Durham Literacy’s teachers tailored instruction to her learning style and connected learning to her interests, breaking down difficult concepts step by step and revisiting them until she understood. They made school fun and encouraged her to focus on the future. With Channelle’s drive, brains, and persistence, she was able to graduate in just eight weeks!

“I thought my world was limited, but [Durham Literacy] showed me how to go after what I want.”

Channelle took her last GED test and earned her diploma the same week that her son graduated from preschool, so they celebrated their achievements together. This fall, she walked in our graduation ceremony with nine other students, with her son there to cheer her on.

Today her cancer is in remission and, while her son started kindergarten, she became a college student in the Associates in Business Administration program at Durham Tech. She concurrently enrolled in cosmetology school, and plans to transfer to a four-year college. The career and college counselors who she met through Durham Literacy’s partnership with Made in Durham’s Futures
Collaborative have continued to support her through her journey, helping her figure out which career was right for her, navigate college applications, and apply for financial aid.

The college and career counselors whom she met through Durham Literacy’s partnership with Made in Durham’s Futures Collaborative continue to support her through her journey, navigating college applications and applying for financial aid. 

“I wouldn’t have done it for myself. I had honestly given up on myself. But I want my son to look at me and say, 'My mom is awesome!'”
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