Before I had my HSED, I lived in Holton, Indiana with my mother and Ben, one of two brothers I have. I was working at…you guessed it…McDonalds! I worked at McDonalds for a year and three months. It’s just like any other job.. it had its good days and bad days. The work wasn’t hard but the stress that came with it didn’t make it worth coming to work. I started working there when I was 17, which isn’t too bad, but by the time I was 18 I started seeing the work place for what it was. It wasn’t somewhere I was proud to work, definitely NOT a career I wanted.

I dropped out of 11th grade in the year of working at McDonalds to pursue with my homeschooling. I then returned to public school for half a year and found it wasn’t worth it. Now I’m not saying education isn’t worth it because it is one of the most important safety nets to have. But I was going to school every day and not learning anything. I was in the “special” classes like I had always been and still wasn’t able to learn. The teachers couldn’t explain how to do most problems because they didn’t even know. It’s hard to teach what you don’t know. Also, the school wouldn’t accept my homeschool credits and wanted to make me a freshman and I would graduate at 21. NO THANKS.

It was hard when I realized I had no education and I would be stuck in a toxic work environment filled with kids. It’s hard when you realize as a young adult that life’s just started and you’re already failing.

After one horrible 9 1/2 hour shift at 4 a.m. I realized I needed to get out and grow up. So I started looking for other jobs. I didn’t have many options…fast food or factory…and neither sounded great. Thinking the military accepted drop outs (nope) I tried to enlist only to find out I needed a high school diploma or equivalent. So my hunt began for classes. The closest one I found was a good 45 minutes away but I was willing. Thankfully one day at work a friend told me she was in classes right here in Versailles!

So I met with her one day to meet the instructor, Rich, who when you first meet is kind of intimidating. Of course I was nervous, but so excited. After a few weeks of class I got my confidence back and I was more motivated. I wouldn’t have chosen anyone else to be my instructor! Rich is an intelligent man who I respect for giving us “quitters” a second chance and honestly believing in us. I was in a class of 2-4 people, which doesn’t seem like many but it is for one person. No matter how big or small our class was, Rich was there to help anyone and treat them as if he or she were the only student. This truly helped! Rich was able to teach me things a school couldn’t…remarkable right?! But Rich wasn’t just my instructor; he was my friend, too. Class was easy to come to because he made us feel important and motivated us every day.

It took me about 5 months to complete my courses. Testing day…still one of the most nerve racking days I’ve had. A few days go by, my grades come back, and I PASSED. Everything except math, my worst subject! The next class day Rich was helping me work on my math until I was comfortable enough to re-test. Well the second time was the charm and woohoo! I passed! On March 22, 2017 I received the awesome news I had my HSED!

With that HSED I’m going to enlist in the military…my CAREER! So my next step was to study for the ASVAB, which is like studying for the HSED. It’s a big deal and super hard. But my friend Rich was there to save me again. He invited me back to his classes and help me study, of course giving equal attention to his actual students.

I am extremely blessed that I got a second chance to be somebody. I will never be able to thank Rich enough for sacrificing his time for someone like me! Rich has taught me many things that I’m grateful for. My mother is a single mom of three kids; when you play mom and dad it is easy to get caught up in life and forget to teach, as well. Rich isn’t just my old instructor, he’s also my old friend! I will never be able to thank Rich enough for giving me hope, confidence, EDUCATION, and friendship. I’m truly honored to have worked with him!
With this HSED I am going to enlist in a branch of the military and become a police officer. My career is set and I’m ready to take sail!

Hannah in her new security guard uniform.

Hannah’s instructor, Rich Ries, of River Valley Resources