When he first entered the adult education GED program with The English Center’s TLC Online, Dwayne Woods had been carrying around a secret for 28 years and the time had finally come for him to release this heavy burden and to be free from pretending and lying.
He had completed 4 years of high school but didn’t have enough credits to graduate and was informed that he could participate in the graduation ceremony to walk across the stage with my classmates but he would only receive a diploma if he attended summer school. He attended summer school but didn’t take it seriously and failed.
He began his career with the Sheriff’s office by obtaining a job as an Investigator with the Internal Affairs Division and worked his way to becoming the Assistant Director of Internal Affairs Division for the Cook County Sheriff’s Department.
One of his first major assignments given to him from the Sheriff was to investigate all deputy sheriffs’ applications and verify if they had received the high school diploma and if not to begin separation procedures. He took this assignment with so much anxiety of being found out by the Personnel Department. Every day thereafter until his retirement date, He lived with the constant fear of someone finding out his “secret” and the thought of the Sheriff calling him to his office and firing him.
Before retiring from the Sheriff’s office he was being considered for another high level position, Assistant Director of Office of Professional Regulations in 2008. It was then that his fear set-in deeply into his everyday existence while on the job and he decided he could no longer live with this “secret” and that he had to do something about it before it destroyed him.
His plan for retirement was to relocate to Miami Beach and get get his GED. Once in Miami he called several schools and finally contacted The English Center in Miami (Coral Gables) and registered with their online GED preparation program. He spent countless hours every day studying and then scheduled himself to take the actual GED examination.
After taking the GED, he received the phone call that my results were ready he instantly contacted my teacher, Ms. Pruitt, and told her he must have failed because they told me to come and pick-up my results, this worried me. Once he arrived at the testing center, the instructor pulled out a blue folder which reminded him of the empty one received in 1981. It was then he knew—he had passed. Dwayne remembers, “I took my diploma and as soon as I reached the parking lot I began to cry with happiness.”
Since obtaining his diploma he went to work for a prestigious law firm. His work week can consist of 60-70 hours a week for which he financially rewarded as well as appreciated for the work product he produces. Dwayne maintains his relationship with The English Center by acting as a part-time mentor/motivational speaker which he greatly enjoys.