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NEDP Graduate Stories

For NEDP graduates, completing a high school diploma opens the opportunity to transition to postsecondary education, improve employment options, provide positive role models for their children, and improve their lives in other significant ways.

The personal testimonials below are just a few of the success stories of our graduates.


Pursuing Higher Education, Improving Employment Opportunities,
and Changing Lives!

NEDP Graduation Speaker Shares Her Strength

Erin-Grad-Photo_2019-webGood evening, my name is Erin and I am a National External Diploma Program graduate. Believe me when I say, LIFE HAPPENS TO EVERYONE. Some of you may think, what does she mean? What I do not mean is the technical definition of life; the existence of an individual human being or animal. What I mean by life is the situations or what I like to call "hurdles" that are presented to you at any point of your day during your "existence".

I feel like everyone can relate when I say, "Some hurdles are easy to jump over when you see them ahead of you. Then every once and a while a hurdle sneaks up on you and splat, on your face you go." Some hurdles make getting back up worse than others. I should have graduated in 2002. I did not because of my lack of appreciation and enthusiasm for school. In June of 2002, I turned 18. In September on the first day of school, I excused myself from first period and dropped out.

From that point forward, I knew I didn't have an education, so I better have a great work ethic. I worked two jobs from the day I left school.

Hurdle number 1, In 2005 I was 20 years old, four months pregnant, and married. After having my daughter, I returned to the workforce.

Hurdle number 2 In 2006 I was 21 years old and pregnant with my son. (Yes, they are 16 months apart)

Hurdle number 3 In 2007 my marriage didn't work out. I was a single parent of two babies.

Hurdle number 4 In 2008 my daughter had an accident that left her blind in her right eye, and I was involved in a DUI-related collision. My seatbelt saved my life. (This hurdle hurt.)

Hurdle number 5 In 2010 my daughter began school. My ex­ husband and I decided to have our children live with him for a better chance at a good education and surroundings than what my neighborhood had to offer. (This was the hurdle that hurl the most and still does sting a little.)

Hurdle number 6 In 2013 I took a leap of faith and switched career industries, only to be laid off six months after the purchase of my first new car.

Hurdle number 7 In June 2014 I am was 30 and my current employer hired me and I became engaged to my current husband.

Hurdle number 8 In 2019 my boss looked at me and said "Now we work on you getting a high school diploma." (I won't lie, she made me mad.)  I thought about it, and setting a good example for my kids won the argument. The NEDP was exactly what I needed. Working at my own pace, in-between LIFE, dinners that had to be made, conference calls required my participation, payroll had to be submitted – in between my already operational adult life. Content from NEDP was actually relatable and could be applied to my adult life (Trust me I looked into the interest I paid on my car. YIKES!)

Five months later here I am. I have an official Maryland state high school diploma. So, I will leave you with some things to think about from this point forward. "Life's problems wouldn't be called hurdles if there was not a way to get over them. When something good or bad happens, we all have three choices: we can let it define us, destroy us, or we can let it strengthen us.


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