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This page is a forum for comments, observations and insights by Westbay staff, clients, and the many people we interact with. 

Featured student from our GED Program

Suzann is a 49 year old student at the Westbay Adult Education Academy. Her life story highlights the need for accessible services and education in order to become self sufficient.

In the beginning of 11th grade, Suzann’s mother, a divorced mother of 5, was in a serious car accident, placed in a body cast and was unable to care for her children. Being the oldest child, Suzann needed to quit school to care for the family. She worked two jobs so that they would not lose their family home.

At the age of 18, Suzann had the opportunity to move to Pennsylvania where she could live with a relative and pursue her education. She enrolled in a GED/Work Program. While studying for her GED, she also worked a t a hospital. Her dream was to become a nurse. She was unable to finish the program because her mother needed her to return to New Jersey to care for her. Without an education, she was only able to secure low paying jobs in order to survive.

As years passed, Suzann found herself a single mother of four children without any child support. Her mother still lived with her as she remained her primary care giver. It was a difficult time for her since she continued to work two jobs and as a consequence of poverty, she needed to move frequently. There was a four year stretch where she had a good job but it wasn’t enough for her to return to school.

It was only recently, while in her 40’s, that she found herself at a different stage in life. Her children were grown and her mother moved into assisted living. She could now pursue her education.

In the fall of 2010, Suzann enrolled in our GED program. She states that she suffers from test anxiety and insecurity. She feels that if it wasn’t for this program, she would not have been able to overcome her barriers. To date, she has passed several GED exams and is close to completing it. Because she has demonstrated that she is a serious and dedicated student and was able to test at a certain level, Suzann has enrolled in our College Readiness Program where she is concurrently a Community College of Rhode Island student enrolled in a 3 credit college course.

She states that her confidence and self-worth have increased and she looks forward to getting a career and paying taxes!




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