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Over 300 students will graduate on Sunday after earning a GED from Ozarks Technical Community College. GED stands for General Educational Development. Michelle Gray of Springfield is one of those accomplished students. Although she is a mother of four, she plans to continue her education so she can help others achieve more in their own lives. KSMU’s Adam Murphy reports.
Michelle Gray attended Parkview High School as a teen, but dropped out in the 10th grade because of her battles with drugs and alcohol. Her struggles led her to complete a recovery program with the Carol Jones Recovery Center for Women.
Gray was then an employee at Willow Brook Foods until is closed down. After searching for a new job, Gray instead made the decision to go back to school, and earn her GED at Ozarks Technical Community College.
“When I got done there wasn’t much out there. I was making decent money at Willow Brook, so I didn’t want to go into fast food or restaurants. And, I just went over to OTC to check it out, and I felt kind of funny going in there as an older student, and they welcomed me with open arms,” she said.
Gray’s mantra while earning her GED has been never be afraid to ask questions. She attributes her success to her determination and hard work, and the helpful faculty at OTC.
“I just went up there and I worked really hard. I wasn’t scared to ask questions. I made friends with all the teachers, I actually miss them. I don’t know, it was just a really good experience,” she said.
Now that Gray has earned her GED, she plans to start classes in the fall at OTC to earn her Associates degree. She then plans to transfer to Missouri State University to study social work. Gray wants to work with women recovering from drug and alcohol addictions. She is appreciative of the guidance she received when recovering from her own addictions, and wants to help others who are struggling.
“I want to go into either helping the women at Carol Jones with drug and alcohol issues, or children, or maybe Family Drug Corps; show them that there is hope, that they can do it,” Gray said.
Michelle Gray, in her cap and gown will be honored in the GED graduation ceremony Sunday at the Gillioz Theater in Springfield.
For KSMU News, I’m Adam Murphy.