Cindy Jo had every intention of graduating from high school, but her daughter took priority.
At just 16 years old, Cindy Jo found out that she and her boyfriend, Allan, were expecting a baby. In October of 1998, they welcomed their first child nearly two months early. Born at just 26 weeks, Cindy Jo’s premature daughter required even more care than the couple had expected.
“She was so tiny and had to stay in the NICU for six weeks before we could bring her home,” Cindy Jo said. “This is where the scary becomes scarier. … I had to make the very tough decision of quitting school and becoming a full-time mom.”
Cindy Jo tried to have a teacher come to her house to help her with coursework, but her daughter had many appointments and required around-the-clock care.
“I just couldn’t catch a break,” Cindy Jo said. “So I began the mom journey, and after five children, I knew it was time to step up and get my diploma.”
Cindy Jo and Allan married and had four more children together. When her husband was home from work to watch the kids, Cindy Jo took evening classes. Unfortunately, she did not pass all of the tests required to get her GED.
“This broke my heart, and I felt defeated,” Cindy Jo said. “I just lingered on for a few more years and finally decided to step it up again.”
This time, Cindy Jo enrolled in the Ohio Adult Diploma Program, and she didn’t give up.
“I found Graduation Alliance and knew I was going to love the program,” Cindy Jo said. “I am now in my last class and can’t wait to test and finally, after 22 years, get my high school diploma. I am excited for this new journey and what life has to bring me!”