Accomplishment is addictive. Three women who earned high school diplomas as adults at the South Baltimore Learning Center this month have no intentions of stopping there.
“This is the good stuff happening, and I have to keep it going, you know?” says Katherine Carter, a 54-year-old resident of O’Donnell Heights.
Carter dropped out of high school.
“At that time, so much was going on that I just quit,” she says. “Growing up, I didn’t have the push, and I think children need that push.”
Carter worked for years at a factory in Dundalk, assembling ovens, stoves, and other industrial kitchen equipment. She says that she didn’t mind the work, but she was laid off a few years ago. Attending classes at the South Baltimore Learning Center, she says, gave her a “purpose to get up again.”
Carter found a friend at the center, Tabatha, and the two supported each other through the schoolwork, having 8 a.m. telephone conversations.
“I would get up early, and, because I wanted that diploma, it was the first thing that would pop into my head,” says Carter.
At press time, Carter had plans to register for classes at the Community College of Baltimore City.
“I’m 54, and I need something fast—pharmacy tech, here I come!”
Renee Bostick, 35, also wanted a better life. She has worked as a cashier and a housekeeper.
“The jobs I had—I knew I could do better,” she says. “I knew I had to go back and get my high school diploma.”
Bostick has two children, a 12-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter. She says that balancing family life and her efforts to get her diploma were challenging but worthwhile.
“Focusing on me, my children, helping them with their schoolwork, and doing my schoolwork, all at the same time, was hard,” she says.
Her children, according to Bostick, are the main reason she went back to get her diploma: “To show my kids that education is very important, both career-wise and in making you a better person.”
In June, the Guide profiled high school diploma earners Daryl Witherspoon and Geri Watts. The South Baltimore Learning Center reports that Witherspoon is currently working full time as head cook at the Baker Street Station, and plans to obtain his commercial driver’s license this year. Watts has enrolled in the medical assisting program at All-State Career-Health Division. She wants to work in oncology.
by Erik Zygmont