Elise Earns Her High School Diploma!

Elise Vogues is one woman! After she got pregnant in high school, she walked to Camden High School every day until she gave birth to her son, Trevon Johnson. In fact, at one point, she was attending school, undergoing training at Hopeworks, and, as she says “contemplating the ABS classes” Hopeworks provides. 

And then the pandemic hit. Elise considered the best course of action for her and her son, and “decided to take a leap of faith” and attend Hopeworks’ Adult Basic Skills program.

She knew she could go that route to get her high school diploma. That was back in March 2020. 

This April, Elise reached the finish line. It wasn’t easy, especially since she had to learn online and had a baby who needed her care.  But she did it!

“I did have a setback but surprisingly, it didn’t stop me,” says Elise.” What helped me stick with it is my ambition and my son. I always strive to become somebody in life and to better myself as a person. I also made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t become a statistic. Since I have a child, I had no choice but to stick with the plan.

“We went through quarantine and it was a struggle,”says Shawneeq Pettey-Ford, Adult Basic Skills Program Manager. “Elise finds it much easier to learn in person. At times, it was really hard for Elise. But she persevered.”

Elise and Shawneeq approached the process strategically. Elise’s worst subject is math, so she saved that subtest for last. She was seriously scared to take the math test. But passing the other four sub-tests gave Elise a boost of confidence. When it was time to take the math test,  she had a good feeling about it.

“I’m feeling positive,” she told Shawneeq. “I’m going to pass it.”

And she did, earning a score that put her well above the minimum passing score of 8

“The day I got my diploma, it felt very surreal,” says Elise. 

Now that she has her  diploma, Elise is looking toward the future. She briefly considered a career in nursing, but has a newfound interest in helping parents understand trauma-informed care. She is a member of the Youth Healing Team. 

“Now that I have a diploma, I intend to get a real-world, long term job that will help me give my son the things I didn’t have growing up.” says Elise. “Having my diploma is the stepping stone to building my life.”

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Camden, NJ 08102
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Hopeworks is a 501(c)(3) non-for-profit organization, EIN: 31-1660671.
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