November 2016 Alumni Spotlight: Ava Zechiel

By Roxana Pérez and Vita Soto

Welcome to the Next Step Alumni Spotlight! Every month throughout the school year we highlight a Next Step Staff as well as Alumni that have 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.

For this month, we interviewed Ava Zechiel who graduated from Next Step in 2016 with her GED.


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

A: I was born in VA, and I grew up, my entire life, in DC. I heard about The Next Step PCS through my parents because they were trying to figure out a solution for my issues at the time.

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

A: The idea that I would get to be with people of all ages and backgrounds, and I had always sort of been interested in taking the GED test because school was getting harder for me.

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

A: English

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

A: Yes, English is my native language.

Q: Did you take ESL classes? If so, where did you take classes and for how long?

A: No.

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

A: About 4-6 months


Q: What was your motivation for getting your GED?

A: After a personal traumatic experience, I just wanted my high school experiences behind me.

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

A: Yes, because some of the subjects were hard to learn for me.

Q: Who/What helped you pass the GED?

A: My family really supported me, as well as the friends and family I gained while attending The Next Step PCS.

Q: Are you a recipient of any scholarships at The Next Step PCS or any other scholarships?

A: I got the Mundo Scholarship in the amount of $500. All graduates get this scholarship.

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

A: Just keep swimming. Some days are going to be harder than others, and that's okay. Just keep pushing.

Q: What are you up to now?

A: I am attending the University of the District of Columbia Community College and blogging - I love to write.

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

A: I like being with people that want to continue their education. It's inspiring.

Q: What are your future professional goals?

A: To be honest, my future professional goal is to graduate from college. This accomplishment will allow me to be happy doing what I'm doing. I want to do something I love.

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

A: Write/blogging.