January 2018 Alum Spotlight: Herminio Palma

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 caught up again with Herminio Palma who graduated from Next Step in 2012 with his GED. Check out his original interview from March 2016.


Q: What is your name?

A: Herminio Palma

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

A: The ESL classes and the GED were what attracted me to Next Step. My time at The Next Step was something unforgettable, all the staff treated me very well, as a person and as a student.

Q: What program did you attend? i.e. day or night school, GED (English or Spanish) or ESL?

A: During the first months I attended the ESL program, then I started to take the GED in Spanish.

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

A: Spanish is my native language.

Q: What was your motivation for completing the ESL course, then GED, and now your Associate degree?

A: My motivation has been the following: working class people have many obstacles to get a higher education. Many times they get older and do not achieve their dreams.  Changing this history was my principal motivation, and now I am close to accomplishing one of the most important dreams in my life.

Q: What were the most difficult challenges you faced while at Next Step?

A: A challenge I faced while at Next Step was managing my time between school and my job.

Q: What advice would you give to current students that are attempting to pass the GED or ESL and or pursuing college?

A: My advice is study hard and be strong. Be in the moment to face the obstacles, and never stop believing that anything is possible when you really want to reach it.

Q: What skills do you find helpful to have while in college?

A: The ability to express myself in English and the clarity of my goals. Having these skills have been very important and continue to be as I pursue my Bachelor's degree.

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

A: This time being at school is beautiful. Being a part of a group of students at my university is actually the best part of my life.

Q: What are your future professional goals?

A:  My future goals are to contribute to this world in the most positive way, to make this world better. One of my goals is to create a photography school.

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

A: Listening to music is definitely my favorite thing.

Q. How have you been involved with Next Step or the DC community after graduation?

A: I stay connected to Next Step by attending panels, workshops, and festivities.

Q: Any shoutouts you would like to give?

A: Thanks to life, for giving me this present.