Lexington adult education program helps graduates pursue career goals

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — It’s never too late to graduate.

An adult education program in Lexington County helps people get a second chance at getting a GED or high school diploma, even years or decades later.

Laurie Wannamaker has been wanting her family to see her graduate. 

“My children, my mom,  especially my mom,” Wannamaker said. “My mom gets to see her baby walk across the stage. I feel like I’m 18!”

Now 49 years old, she says getting a GED at 18 just was not possible at the time. 

“In the 12th grade, I had a child. Once I started having children, I wasn’t able to go,” she said. “I ended up getting my cosmetology license.”

Wannamaker has owned Little House of Styles for more than 2 decades. She needed a GED to pursue an instructor’s license. Fortunately, her clients were flexible enough for that to happen.

“I was able to work around my clients to go back to school. All my clients were so proud of me that they didn’t mind coming later in the day to get their hair done so I could go in the morning,” Wannamaker said. “The reason I wanted to go in the morning was because they had more time with the students. I was like a little kid in the 1st grade when I went. I was so excited to come.”

Even with the excitement of going to the Lexington 2 Adult Education Program, she ran into a learning curve when returning to school.

“A lot of things change. I had to learn certain math skills I never knew,” Wannamaker said. “Miss Rodgers, she’s a great teacher. Miss Auld, she’s a wonderful teacher. I’m so thankful for them because they really took the time to help me.”

Her fellow graduates also spoke highly of the adult education program teachers. LaMonttae Hammond says he had tried to get his GED in the past, but never completed doing so until now.

“The wonderful women at Lexington 2 Adult Education never gave up on me,” said Hammond, who spoke at Tuesday’s graduation. “They were patient, kind and assured me I was capable.”

Wannamaker echoes the same words and says she hopes her graduation is a positive example for others.

“You can do anything you put your mind to,” she concludes. “Anything is possible, but you got to want it first.”

Categories: Lexington, Local News, Richland