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IU13 Community Education Blog

Student Spotlight: Maria Acevedo

Posted by Rebecca Loewenstein-Harting on Dec 7, 2020 9:41:02 AM

Maria Acevedo is one of Community Education’s most recent high school equivalency graduates. A dedicated student of over two years who walked to class each day no matter the weather, she was known in the One Cumberland Street building for her smile and fierce determination. Even a pandemic and transition to fully remote learning couldn’t stop her from achieving her dream!

Maria began attending High School Equivalency (HSE) classes in August 2018 because she wanted to better herself and make her children proud. In the beginning, coming to IU13 was difficult for Maria because she was the oldest one in a class of younger people and she felt embarrassed. After a while, she realized that the other students were friendly and were actually helping her learn. Her favorite part of attending HSE class, though, was working with the teachers whom she calls “fabulous.” The admiration is mutual--her most recent HSE teacher, Deb Smith, says “Maria is a perfect picture of persistence. Whenever an obstacle hindered the plan of Maria’s journey, she found a way to overcome it. Her positive attitude and determination inspired both staff members and classmates.” 

Maria’s journey to her HSE diploma was not easy. Her biggest obstacle was math. When she began classes, Maria says that she did not know how to multiply. She was willing to do anything to achieve her goal, so she studied at home and pushed herself to learn more every day. When asked what kept her motivated to keep going, Maria said that she wanted to show her grandkids that “if you work hard, you can do it. It’s always great to become a better you.” Despite her hard work, Maria did not pass all of her HiSET subject tests on the first try. It has taken her almost two years to successfully complete all of her tests, a true testament to one of her guiding principles: “If I can’t do it this time, I’ll do it next time.” 

Not content to stop learning anytime soon, Maria’s next challenges include learning how to drive and swim--activities that others take for granted, but that she never had a chance to do. She’s also currently enrolled in the Administrative Support Professional micro-credential class, a six-week course which covers Microsoft Office basics, customer service skills, and much more. Her advice to current students is “Don’t give up - keep moving forward. Be persistent. [IU13] is a wonderful place to be and everyone there is helpful. It’s worth a shot. Why wouldn’t you want to better yourself? Don’t give up on yourself!” 

Congratulations, Maria! All of the teachers and staff at One Cumberland Street are so proud of you and can’t wait to see what you accomplish next. 

Topics: HSE | GED | HiSET