Hi, my name is Sherese Bernard, and I have overcome many obstacles in my life. Teen pregnancy, High school dropout, and public assistance from the government.

I became a mother at 16 years old to a beautiful daughter who had both her mother and her father (we were in love). The thing was no one told me or us we had to support a baby. I had to forge documents (Not happy about it) so that I could lie so temp agencies would think I was 18 years old so I could work 4 to 8 hours a day. I am lucky that my daughter’s grandmother would watch her so that I could work. Every week I would cash a check for $100 from working 20 hours a week. The whole check went to transportation and my daughter’s needs. Which means I could not possibly go to school.

As my daughter got older (about four years old) I decided that I cannot enroll my daughter into kindergarten and watch her graduate and I have not graduated from high school (what type of mom would I be). So, I signed up for a mommy and me GED program in South Jamaica Queens Multi-Service Center. The program gave parenting advice, as well. They told me to sign up for public assistance and to stay on until I am done with getting my GED.  I can then get a real job, so I applied. I was able to bring my daughter with me to school as they had board-certified baby sitters that stayed with the children while you went to class on the premises. As I went to class, there were only four rooms. One room was the main room for the children, the office, a reading room, and a math room.

Ms. Gail taught reading, and Ms. Zinoba taught Math (I will always remember them). They pushed me as the program was for teen moms, which meant that when I turned 21 if I did not receive my GED, I could not stay in the program. I worked so hard that I took the GED test twice. The first time I took the test, it was just a trial to see how much knowledge I retained. Keep in mind that the passing grade was 225. My first try I received a 222. I was upset, but I kept pushing. I knew exactly which area I needed help in science (can you believe that) so I worked hard for the next few months so that when I took the test the next time, I would be ready. Six months later, I took the test I was ready. I went to the testing location (I remember it like it was yesterday). I walked in with all the confidence in the world because I had Ms. Zinoba and Ms.Gail cheering me on. When I left the testing room, I knew that I passed. A few weeks later, my daughter comes home with a letter about her kindergarten graduation, and I received a letter in the mail. I was so scared to open it. I knew in an instant just looking at the envelope because the GED was attached to the results 232 (passing the envelope is blue failing the envelope is white). I Passed!

Our graduations were in days of each other. My daughter’s graduation was on Monday, and mine was on Wednesday. Everyone attended my daughter’s graduation, and afterward, we had lunch there we all talked about seeing me again at my graduation on Wednesday. I told everyone I had a surprise for them.

My graduation who would believe the day would come where I would be marching in with a cap and gown on. I did it! I was so excited, but what my family did not know, including my daughter that I was valedictorian class of 1995(Surprise).  I had the highest GED score in my class. I had to give a speech. I was so scared my knees were knocking, my teeth were chattering, and my hands were sweaty. I walked across that stage, and I said my speech (I do not remember it). I read it from a paper. The only regret that I have is that I never looked up from the paper (I was too scared). Afterward, everyone in the room stood up, cheered, and clapped for me as I trembled across the stage back to my seat. I knew then what I had to work on next speaking in large groups.

So, Hi again, my name is Sherese Bernard, and I hold a Masters Degree in Information System, from Walden University Working toward my Doctoral Degree in Information System.  There is no obstacle too big or too small that I will not get over. To all the people that said I could not do it, I wish they could see me now. My message to you is never to let any obstacle get in the way of bettering yourself.

Tell me about an obstacle that you faced?

Was the obstacle hard to overcome?

Sherese Bernard WWIT, President