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 Oportuna Irabaruta 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 the Democratic Republic of Congo in a town called Goma. I heard about The Next Step through my Social Worker.
Q. What attracted you to The Next Step PCS and how was your experience?
A.When I visited The Next Step I found it really nice and welcoming. I had a great experience with amazing teachers.
Q. In what language did you pass the GED?
A. I passed my GED in English
Q. Is English your primary language? If no, what is your primary language?
A. No, My primary language is Swahili
Q. Did you take ESL courses? If so, where and for how long did you take ESL courses?
A.No I did not take any ESL courses
Q. How long did it take you to pass the GED?
A. I was able to complete my GED in 18 long months.
Q. What was your motivation to pass the GED?
A.My motivation for passing the GED was to be able to become Independent. Since I can remember I have always wanted to be Independent, I want to be able to do everything for myself and getting my GED was the first step towards that.
Q. What were the most difficult challenges you faced while at The Next Step PCS?
A.When I was at Next Step I really wanted to finish my GED as quickly as possible and one difficulty I had is the language as it is not my first language.
Q. Who or what helped you pass the GED?
A.I had a lot of support in passing my GED, starting with my brother and my foster moms. My teachers at the Next Step helped me so much, they even stayed with me after school for extra help.
Q. Did you receive any scholarships?
A. I applied to the the Ben Friedberg scholarship and was able to be selected as well as receiving The Mundo Scholarship.
Q. What advice would you give to current students at The Next Step PCS?
A.To all the student take the advantage of the extra help teachers are able to provide because it helps when you are about to take your GED
Q. What are you doing today?
A.I am currently attending Montgomery college as a part time student while I also work.
Q. What is the best part of your job or schooling?
A.The best part of my school is I get to learn new things every semester, I also meet new people every semester which is exciting.
Q. What are your future professional goals?
A.I would really love to work with children all over the world. I have been thinking of possibly starting my very own non-profit organization
Q. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
A.I never thought I would go to high school let alone be in college. I am grateful to have received my GED and now I am looking forward to graduating from college.
Q. Any shoutouts and if so who and what would you like to them?
A. I would like to say thank you to everyone who helped me get to where I am, I had a very huge support starting with my Brother Andre and My foster moms Dawn and Emily. Thanks to all my teachers for the support. Thank you for the time you were able to spend with me one on one to make sure I understood the material. Especially Ms. Jill, who not only helped me but also encourage me to sign up for a history class which has helped me so much in college. Also thanks to all the staff and faculty at the Next Step.