As a sixty-four year old man is reading in the library he overhears a conversation that leads to the fulfillment of a promise he had made to his late mother.
Having left school at age seventeen, Benjamin Lee Brown says, “My mother always tried to influence me to get my high school diploma. But, I was always engulfed in my work and my family. I married at 25 and started a family at 28.” After retiring five years ago, he still found himself “engulfed.” There were now grandchildren and other family commitments such as helping care for an uncle.
Benjamin has also been very much involved in the local Master Gardeners program. But, after four years he found that was not enough. “The only other desire at that point was to get my high school diploma.” He had been “mulling it over” in his mind for a few weeks when he overhead a woman asking a librarian for information on earning a high school diploma.
After the woman walked away, he approached the librarian and got the contact information for the Calvert County Adult Education Program. Once at home, he called and signed up for the next orientation. Then at the orientation, Benjamin enrolled in one of the evening classes.
“Benjamin Lee Brown is one of the most enthusiastic people it has been my pleasure to know” said Terri, his NEDP Assessor. On his first night of class, he stepped into the office and with a cheerful “hello” introduced himself. Every night he brought that same enthusiasm into class. He would often stop in the office and ask about the NEDP as he felt it would be “a good fit” for him because it was online and he could work at his own pace. It also struck him as “a program that is not about how old you are, but about how willing you are.”
Once he demonstrated all of the Diagnostic requirements, Benjamin brought that contagious enthusiasm to all things NEDP. He admits that he hit a few bumps in the road when it came to writing about the Miranda Rights. But overall, he feels that “the NEDP program is laid out well. If you read over the instructions and all the materials carefully, you’ll get it.” Benjamin completed the NEDP Program in five months and will be one of the Calvert County Adult Education Program speakers at their April graduation.
Benjamin now wants very much to “open some doors that seem to have been closed in my life for some time because I have a great desire for living.” He often quotes his late mother. “I take a page from my mother’s old sayings. ‘As long as you have breath in your body, there will always be work you can do to make a better you.’ If she were here today, she would add ‘to make a better you to help someone else.’ With my grandchildren that is how I am looking to influence them. If Grandpa can do it, so can you.”
With his mother’s adage in mind, Benjamin plans on entering into a college program that could lead to eventually becoming an attorney. “I’d like to add that if for some reason I can’t complete this journey, I plan to do all I can to enjoy the road. I’m being realistic. It won’t be easy, but I won’t give up. It would be like giving me the keys to a new Ferrari, I’m gonna enjoy the ride!”
We wish Benjamin all the best in his future endeavors and are honored to have been a part of his life journey.