Half a Lifetime in the Making
When Christopher Lawrence was in high school, life dealt his family some severe blows. First, his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer; soon afterward, his father developed heart problems and liver failure. The 15-year-old Christopher cared for them as best he could, but the stress of their care, plus the worry while he was at school during the day, took its toll.
“It was a lot of pressure and it got to be too much,” he remembers. He dropped out of school.
When I saw the information on KET, I thought, well, this sounds really good. I’ll go with that. That was the best decision for me, to go through KET.
Christopher Lawrence – who earned his GED® diploma through KET’s GED Connection
Though it’s been more than 15 years, the South Carolina native, now 30 and living near Lawrenceburg, earned his GED® diploma after preparing with KET’s GED Connection study-at-home program and adult learning resources.
“I gave up my schooling to take care of family, because family is number one. That’s how I see it,” said the soft-spoken Lawrence, a stay-at-home dad to his young son, who has autism. “My parents always told me that no matter what you do in life, your family is always your number-one priority.”
That philosophy again took a prominent place in Lawrence’s life when he later decided to re-commit to his education.
“When my child was diagnosed with autism, I realized he was going to have to go through a lot in his life, and he is going to get to a point where he is just going to want to give up,” Lawrence said. “I don’t want him to see that I gave up.”
Obtaining a GED diploma, he realized, would be the best example he could set.
“I wanted to show him that even though I was this old, I didn’t give up,” he said. “I got my GED, and that is a big accomplishment for me.”
Back when he dropped out of high school, Lawrence, who then lived in Virginia, took advantage of the school system’s offer to get a GED diploma. He missed it by just six points and delayed retaking the necessary two sections. He then learned he was required to retake the entire test. It seemed too big a hurdle, and he walked away.
He passed his twenties hoping to get it, investigating various options for GED preparation. He tried online courses, but sitting for hours in front of a screen was too much of “a pain,” he says. “It wasn’t for me.”
He tried the local adult learning center, and though it offered child care, he was reluctant to leave his autistic son there.
Then one day, he and his son were tuned to KET, watching the animated kids series Word World. It was followed by a spot for KET’s GED preparation program.
“When I saw the information on KET, I thought, well, this sounds really good. I’ll go with that. That was the best decision for me, to go through KET.”
Lawrence registered for the program, which for a $50 enrollment fee provides students with a pre-test, workbooks, practice tests, tutoring, and a voucher for the testing fee. Instructional videos are also available.
“I decided to work through the workbooks at my own pace, do my own thing,” he remembers. “When I felt comfortable with (the material), I went on to the next section. I wanted to make sure that when I did go in for the test, I’d have good enough scores to pass it!”
Lawrence gives credit to family, friends, and KET GED staff for keeping up his spirits.
“My support system is awesome,” he said. “There were times when I really wanted to give up and they said, ‘You can do it,’ and they just encouraged me. I didn’t really have that growing up either; my mom was sick, my dad was sick. You just have to get yourself in that mindset that you can do it.”
And four months later, Lawrence felt he was ready. “The test date was in June, I went in and I passed. I was shocked!”
“I was proud,” he added. “It was