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    My Story: Stetson Odom

    Stetson Odom is a GED Graduate & Goodwill Volunteer, Goodwill Career Training Center, Panama City / Springfield, FL

    When I first moved to Panama City, I went to go check out the local Goodwill store and little did I know that was going to be the start of my life. As I was leaving, I saw a sign about Goodwill offering free GED classes. I had dropped out of high school because of testing anxiety and other issues. As a result, I had a hard time getting a job. In fact, I have never even had a job before. Here in front of me was a sign – a sign that I needed to do something with my life.

    The next day, I signed up for the GED classes at the Goodwill Big Bend Career Training Center. Right away I felt at home. The staff were very nice and extremely helpful. I knew they really cared about my success and it really helped me gain the confidence that I needed to overcome my hurdles and make something of myself.

    It wasn’t always easy. When I first started to dive into the coursework, it felt impossible. I worked with the GED Trainer and really hit the books hard at home. The more I studied, the more confident I felt. I started to really believe I could do this – that I could pass the GED test and actually be a high school graduate.

    I started taking the GED test in sections. I took Language Arts and passed on my first try. It felt great! I felt like I could take on more the next time, but it didn’t work out and I failed the next two sections. This was definitely a setback, but I knew that nothing was going to stop me. I worked more with the trainer and took it slow. It worked and I started passing the test section by section.

    I was at the Goodwill Career Training Center so much that I even started volunteering there. I worked with the Volunteer Coordinator on service projects and helped out around the office. I loved it. They were helping me, I was helping myself and I was able to help others along the way.

    With my new found confidence and some coaching, I was on a mission to find a job. That confidence and determination paid off! I found a job with a local retail store. I really enjoy working there and I like my new coworkers.

    After a lot of hard work, I finally passed my last GED section, Math. I’m so proud that I can now call myself a high school graduate.

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