Next Step Alumni Spotlight: Keely Umanzor

By Roxana Pérez and Vita Soto

Every month throughout the school year we will highlight a Next Step Alumni that has received their GED to check in and see how they are doing and what they've been up to since graduating from Next Step PCS. Welcome to the Next Step Alumni Spotlight!

For this month, we interviewed Keely Umanzor who graduated from Next Step in 2014 with her GED.

Q: Where were you born? How did you hear about Next Step?

A: I was born in Ilobasco Cabanas, El Salvador.  I heard about Next Step through my brother.  He is a former student of Next Step.

Q: What attracted you to Next Step and how was your experience?

A: What attracted me to Next Step was the way staff and teachers cared for students.  My experience at Next Step was great.  Teachers were patient and gave great advice to students like me to aspire to pass the GED.   

Q: In what language did you take the GED exam?

A: I took the GED in Spanish

Q: Is English your native language?  If not, what is your native language?

A: Spanish

Q: How long did it take you to pass the GED?

A: 1 year

Q: What was your motivation for getting your GED?

A: My motivation to get my GED was my desire to prove to myself and everyone else that when you want to achieve something in life you can do it!

Q: Did you ever feel frustrated during your time at Next Step?  

A: Yes!  I felt frustration when I did not pass the official math section the first time.  I felt as though all my efforts were not worth it anymore.  It took some time but I eventually was determined not to give up and continue persevering.  

Q: What helped you pass the GED?

A: My teachers motivating me is what truly helped me pass the GED.  They did not give up on me so I could not give up on myself.  

Q: What advice would you give to current students that are attempting to pass the GED?

A: Do not give up for anything in the world.  Even if you fail the first time keep trying.  There are opportunities to try again.  Most of all believe in yourself and know that anything is possible.  

Q: What are you doing now?

A: I am taking ESL courses at Montgomery College and soon will be taking my college course classes.  

Q: What’s the best part about your job and/or school?

A: The best part about my school is the opportunity of meeting so many new people from different countries, backgrounds, cultures.  

Q: What are your future professional goals?

A: My future professional goal is to be a Registered Nurse.  

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working or going to school?

A: My favorite thing to do in my free time is to read.  I like to read books, magazines, and newspapers and I read it in English.