GED® Graduate Gives Back to the Community

After passing the GED test, Rodney Caulkins, a high school dropout, wants to help others achieve the same success that he has. He has set up a $1,000 scholarship to help people get a high school equivalency diploma in Prince William County, Virginia, where he lives.

Caulkins is one of millions of American adults who have earned a GED certificate, giving them access to more job opportunities and higher education. More than 39 million adult Americans still lack a high school diploma or equivalent, though, according to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

In school, Caulkins' problems were with math, a subject that plagues many adults who hope to get a high school equivalency diploma and are put off by the math portion of the GED test or HiSET exam. Caulkins failed to graduate in 1976, but he became a carpenter and successful businessman.

Three years ago, Caulkins decided to get a GED certificate, not because he needed a better job or a college education, but because he wanted the satisfaction of having the degree he lacked. Even though he was already a successful businessman, Caulkins' lack of a degree carried with it a feeling of failure, one that was lifted when he earned his diploma.

Caulkins set up a scholarship to help others achieve that feeling. Many people who need to get a diploma struggle with childcare and financial problems that interfere with studying. No matter how many ways that life can get in the way, the satisfaction and rewards of earning a high school equivalency credential are worth the struggle.


Ben Valdez, Educator


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