Overcoming and Achieving. the story of Keyona Jefferys
Bowling Green, Ky. (Jan. 12, 2021) – Keyona Jeffreys, a 34 year-old single mother of four, found the strength and tenacity to overcome a myriad of obstacles and setbacks in her life. No matter how many times life knocked her down, Keyona never gave up on her goal to earn her GED and go to college.
Keyona, originally from Camden, New Jersey, moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky, fifteen years ago. "Growing up in the city and being an African-American young lady put me at a disadvantage, stereotypically, where I was expected to fail even before I even began," she says. Keyona grew up in a broken home with two drug-addicted parents. "With little to no guidance as a teenager, I became pregnant and ultimately dropped out of high school."
At age 20, Keyona moved to Bowling Green, KY. After gaining the custody of her younger brother and sister and having three children of her own, Keyona decided to continue her education by earning her GED and then going to college. "Of course, I had my doubts about whether I could do it. A friend told me about Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College's adult education program. I learned I could earn my GED and take free classes to prepare for the test if I needed to."
Keyona began taking classes in 2007. She said she would stay the course for a few months, then life would happen, and she would have to quit school. She was stuck in a cycle of starting-and-stopping for years, but she never gave up. "I really love the staff at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKYCTC) because they are honestly concerned about their students’ well-being, even beyond graduation," says Keyona. "The teachers and staff here are dedicated to every student personally. You are not just a number. It is as if you are their only student, and the motivation that they give you is unexplainable. I will forever be grateful to them for that. Each time I came back to try again, they never once made me feel as if, oh my goodness, here she goes again. It was as if I was brand new."
To her, earning her GED meant gaining a better life for herself, her children, and the entire family. Being the first to have gone to college in two generations of her family weighed on her heart. "I was determined to be the person to break the cycle. This was one of the main motivations that helped me never to give up," she says.
"If I could speak to someone out there who is thinking about or trying to get their GED, I would say this: please do not ever, no matter what you face, no matter what you are going through, give up on yourself. Sometimes things may seem as if it will never happen for you. It always happens to everyone. Success is possible for you too."
Keyona now plans on enrolling next semester at SKYCTC to take nursing classes. Keyona shares, "I really hope my story helps someone to know and to understand that dreams are possible. It is up to you to make it happen."
Learn how you can earn your GED at https://southcentral.kctcs.edu/workforce-solutions/adult-education.