My name is Arthur, and I left school in 10th grade when I was 17 years old. I’d like to say that my circumstances surrounding why I left are unique, but the truth is that I recognize how many others face the same challenges that I faced. I want you to know that I didn’t just wake up one random day and decide I didn’t want to finish school. Rather, it had been a number of different things that added up over time.

You see, before I came to the decision that I couldn’t finish high school, I had already been shuffled around to seven or eight different schools. I was in foster care, and things were tough for me in my life outside of the classroom. The constant moving, coupled with my personal challenges at home, led me to make choices that got me removed from classes and eventually removed from a really good high school.

Sometimes when I moved from one school to the next, my credits wouldn’t transfer. As a result, my grades had dropped, and I wasn’t passing some of my classes, which held me back. I found myself in a classroom with students who were younger than me, and I began to feel uncomfortable, feeling way older than some of my classmates. I finally decided that school just wasn’t for me. I had lost all of my self-esteem and left.

One day on the subway, I saw a poster for a program that would help me get my GED and a job. After some consideration, I signed up and got the support that I needed. During my time there, I had a lot of ups and downs and personal issues that interfered, but the staff did not give up on me. They wanted me to excel. I finally completed all four exams and received my GED within one year.

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