Jack­son is a sym­bol of in­spi­ra­tion to fam­ily, class­mates at col­lege

Cecil Whig - - EDUCATION - SPE­CIAL TO THE WHIG

— Larry Jack­son didn’t in­tend to be a sym­bol of in­spi­ra­tion when he de­cided to pur­sue his GED, but that is what he be­came to a gen­er­a­tion of stu­dents 50 years his ju­nior. Jack­son’s stor y be­gan when he was laid off at the age of 59 and vis­ited the Susque­hanna Work­force Cen­ter seek­ing guid­ance.

He was at a dis­ad­van­tage as he had dropped out of school in the 10h grade, but af­ter some dis­cus­sion, a de­ci­sion was made to pur­sue his GED would be his best course. The work­force cen­ter as­sisted in con­nect­ing him with the Adult Ed­u­ca­tion Of­fice at Ce­cil Col­lege’s Elk­ton Sta­tion.

“I al­ways wanted to earn my high school diploma, but al­ways seemed to be too busy with life and never pur­sued it. I had a chance at that time to do it, so I took ad­van­tage of it,” Jack­son said. “In the be­gin­ning, I wasn’t sure I could han­dle the work be­cause it had been so long since I was in school. But ev­ery­one at the col­lege was great. They un­der­stood where I was com­ing from and made the process smooth.”

Jack­son wouldn’t take this jour­ney alone. Upon no­ti­fy­ing his fam­ily of his in­tent, he be­came a ral­ly­ing point for his chil­dren and grand­chil­dren on the im­por­tance of ed­u­ca­tion.

“They were all there for me, es­pe­cially my one grand­daugh­ter who thought it was great and told me how proud she was,” Jack­son said.

Jack­son was not only an in­spi­ra­tion to his fam­ily, but to the younger stu­dents in the pro­gram. His life’s ex­pe­ri­ence had given him an edge in an­a­lyz­ing prob­lems and eval­u­at­ing the work for a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing. With the help of English in­struc­tor Rose Mary Rutt and math in­struc­tor Lori Chan­nell, Jack­son was ahead of

ELK­TON

the curve with his class­mates look­ing to him for mo­ti­va­tion and in­spi­ra­tion.

“Larry was a very se­ri­ous stu­dent and good role model for other stu­dents in his classes. He was such a good stu­dent that he would talk with the other stu­dents in his classes, mo­ti­vate them and push them to do bet­ter,” Ce­cil Col­lege’s Di­rec­tor of Adult Ed­u­ca­tion Carolyn Fletcher said.

“I was sur­prised that to­day’s gen­er­a­tion wasn’t pre­pared for their first class. That shocked me. I thought they would be more pre­pared than I would be, but they didn’t have a clue,” said Jack­son, who dis­cov­ered he had been us­ing al­ge­bra his en­tire life and didn’t re­al­ize. “I work with num­bers ev­ery day, but never gave a thought about al­ge­bra and how much you use it.”

Jack­son fin­ished his GED in 2015 and has been en­joy­ing his new ca­reer as a tow trucker. At age 64, he doesn’t have plans to re­tire as he views the key to an en­joy­able life is stay­ing ac­tive and re­main­ing close to fam­ily and friends.

“When we were at the grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony, and they called my name, my grand­daugh­ter called out ‘go get-um Pop Pop.’” It made me proud of how much she loves me. It is an honor to have grand­chil­dren who love me so much,” Jack­son said.

A life­long res­i­dent of Ce­cil County, Jack­son loves play­ing mu­sic and cre­at­ing art. Hav­ing com­pleted his GED, he is con­sid­er­ing look­ing into some of the life­long learn­ing classes of­fered at Ce­cil Col­lege.

“I would highly rec­om­mend our col­lege for any­one who wanted to get a GED or a col­lege de­gree. Ev­ery­body I talked to or had deal­ings with was over­whelm­ingly will­ing to help me with any­thing I needed,” Jack­son said.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CE­CIL COL­LEGE

From left, Mary Way Bolt, Ce­cil Col­lege pres­i­dent; Maddy Voytek, leg­isla­tive and mem­ber­ship di­rec­tor for the Mary­land Re­tail­ers As­so­ci­a­tion; Grant Han­d­ley and Gina Han­d­ley, stu­dents at Ce­cil Col­lege; and Comptroller Peter Fran­chot pose for a photo.

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