Mother of four on path with WGTC to earn her GED
by Celia Shortt
Mother of four Brandy Balderas is doing something she never thought she would be able to do, working toward her GED diploma.
When Balderas was 17 and a junior in high school, she became pregnant with her first child. She ended up dropping out after she almost miscarried, from all the walking up and down stairs she did at school.
“I think if a teacher had said this is another option … you are supposed to be on bed rest, but we can send all your work home … I would have done it,” she said.
After dropping out of school, Balderas got married and became a stay-at-home mom. After her first child, a boy was born, she became pregnant again.
“I just put it off . . . with taking care of my kids,” she said of going back to school.
After she and her husband split up, she was a single mom for her boys and had to focus all her time on providing for them.
Balderas ended up getting married a second time and having two more kids, both boys.
“I didn’t even think it was in the cards anymore, but my husband kept saying you need to go get your GED,” she said.
Recently, she went to a job fair but did not get anywhere because she did not have a high school or GED diploma. West Georgia Technical College was at the same job fair and told her it offered adult education classes to prepare for the GED test. She went to WGTC’s Coweta campus the next day and signed up.
“I want to do something with my life,” she said. “I’m almost 30 and, at this point, I’m looking as the years go by, and I need to have a stable environment for my kids – a stable job, a decent income … if I keep going the way I’m going, it’s not going to happen without a GED, without an education.”
Balderas is now balancing her family’s needs and classes several days a week, but with the help of her husband and mother-in- law, she is remaining focused on taking the GED test and earning her diploma. She is also focused on being an example to her kids.
“Right now, they see I don’t have a job and not having my high school diploma held me back, and I just hope they see that they need to work hard to succeed in school and to graduate and to go to college, so they can do something with themselves, with their lives,” she said.
“I’ve looked at my kids’ homework and said, ‘I can’t help you with that,’” she added.
For Balderas, one of her favorite parts of taking the classes at WGTC is it means – she is a student. Once she has her GED diploma, she can move right into college classes to help achieve her long-term goal of becoming a nurse.
The classes at WGTC, she is utilizing are free and available to anyone over the age of 16, with proper identification. The classes meet at a variety of times and campuses for student availability. They also include practice tests and other avenues of preparation to help ensure students will do as well as possible when taking the GED test.
WGTC also gives the GED test at several of its locations.