Next Step Alumni Spotlight: Herminio Palma

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, we interviewed Herminio Palma who graduated from Next Step in 2012 with his GED.

Herminio, receiving the New Futures Scholarship, December 2013

Herminio, receiving the New Futures Scholarship, December 2013

Q: Where were you born? 

A: I was born in Guatemala.

Q: How did you hear about Next Step?

A: I heard about Next Step from a friend.

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

A: The opportunity to get the GED diploma was the main attraction and the experience was unique, I felt at home all the time. The Next step staff treated me very well and were patient with my pace of learning.

Q: What program did you attend? i.e. day or night school

A: Night School

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

A: In Spanish.

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

A: No, my native language is Spanish.

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

A: Yes, I took ESL classes at The Next Step PCS between 2011-2012. After Next Step, I took ESL classes at UDC-CC beginning August 2013 for about a year.  

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

A: One year and a half.

Q: What was your motivation for getting your GED?

A: My motivation was having the opportunity to continue my education at a university in this country.

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

A: At times I did because I had a full-time job while attending school but the school always supported me and pushed me to continue on.  

Q: Who/What helped you pass the GED?

A: The teachers, tutors, and of course my perseverance.

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

A: Yes, I am a recipient of the Ben Friedberg scholarship and also the New Futures Scholarship.

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

A: Study hard and believe in your potential because everyone has enough intelligence to overcome any challenge in their life.

Q: What are you up to now?

A: Now I am doing my best in my last year at UDC-CC and I will graduate December 2016 with my Associate’s degree.  I am also preparing myself to continue the following semester at UDC to obtain my Bachelor’s Degree.

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

A: The best part of school is continuing to grow academically, professionally, and individually in this society.  It is my way of being successful in life.

Q: What are your future professional goals?

A: To graduate with my Bachelor’s degree in the Interdisciplinary Photography program.  I want to pursue photography.  

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

A: I am an art lover, for this reason I spend my free times listening to music, drawing, reading, and taking pictures on the street or at local events.