By Roxana Pérez and Vita Soto
Welcome to the Next Step Alumni Spotlight! Every month throughout the school year we 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.
For this month's Alumni Spotlight, we interviewed Loren Redman who graduated from Next Step in 2009 with her GED.
Q: Where were you born? How did you hear about Next Step?
A: I’m a born and raised Washingtonian and I remember walking into LAYC looking for another alternative because I was having a hard time in High School. In result of having my daughter, the high school I attended informed me I would have to repeat the grade because I missed a lot of classes. After walking into LAYC, someone guided me to the second floor and introduced me to the Next Step, the rest was history.
Q: What attracted you to Next Step and how was your experience?
A: I remember being attracted to the teachers! Many of my favorite teachers aren’t there now but they truly impacted my experience. To name a few; Jared Joiner, Valerie Whiting and Susan. Even after I obtained my GED, Jared Joiner tutored me in Physics and Math when I was in Undergrad. I’ll never forget that. And I even remember the day I got my acceptance letter to Washington Adventist University and how Valerie was crying!
Q: In what language did you take the GED exam?
Q: Is English your native language? If not, what is your native language?
A: English is my native language however, I was born and raised in a Dominican and Salvadorian household so I also understand it perfectly.
Q: How long did it take you to pass the GED?
A: I think six months. I can’t remember the exact time but it wasn’t long.
Q: What was your motivation for getting your GED?
A: My daughter. I really wanted to move forward with my life.
Q: Did you ever feel frustrated during your time at Next Step?
A: Yes, especially in math. I’m not fond of math at all, never was and never will be.
Q: Who/What helped you pass the GED?
A: The teachers and their belief in me. They saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself.
Q: Are you a recipient of any scholarships at Next Step or any other ones?
A: DC HAPP and New Futures. I don’t think Next Step had a scholarship when I was there.
Q: What advice would you give to current students that are attempting to pass the GED?
A: All I can say is to remain focused and to never lose sight of what you’re there for. We often get caught up in the struggles in front of us without looking at the bigger picture. Obtaining your GED is just a small fragment of your life and it will become a memory sooner than you know. So don’t give up!
Q: What are you up to now?
A: I just completed my AmeriCorps term in December. But now I’m the interim Development Assistant for the Office of Development and Alumni Relations for the School of Medicine at the George Washington University. That’s a mouth full! And I just started Graduate school at American University for my MBA.
Q: What’s the best part about your job and/or school?
A: The people I meet are amazing and when they ask about where I used to work, I always mention LAYC because it’s home. I’m often surprised about how people in the GW community are unaware of organizations such as LAYC, especially since LAYC has been around forever. Speaking of LAYC is always a conversation starter with my colleagues and I feel like it sets me apart in a good way.
Q: What are your future professional goals?
A: I don’t really know what I want to be at the moment because I’m still learning about myself, so I’m just taking one step at a time. I believe with time and exposure to various work fields I will have an idea, so I may be able to answer this question in 10 years.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working or going to school?
A: Quality time with my daughter and Church, I can’t imagine my life without either.