Taylor moved to the small city of Newnan, Georgia from his home state of Alabama in early October 2015. He was 19 years old at the time, and his goal was to finish high school. However, when he went to register with the local school system, he found out that the credits he needed to earn for a high school diploma would take too long, and they suggested instead that he try for his GED. He was then told about Paxen, a program of Eckerd Kids.
Initial assessments of Taylor indicated that he was a bright student. His friendly and optimistic personality told staff that he would be going places. Sure enough, Taylor breezed through the GED Ready tests. The only thing holding Taylor back was time. He was working full-time and needed to make ends meet at home, not just for himself, but for other family members as well. Taylor aspiration was to become a welder and to help pull his family out of poverty.
When the new GED score scales were published in April 2013, Stephanie Harris, an instructor with Paxen, contacted Taylor to see if she could get him to commit to taking an official exam. Thankfully, he said yes! He had been studying in the evenings at home with his workbooks.
They scheduled his first exam for a Tuesday at 8:30 am; he wanted to go to work immediately afterwards. Stephanie watched daily for his results to post and sent Taylor a text at work congratulating him. Within 5 weeks of starting with Paxen, Taylor had earned his GED! He had passed each section of the exam on his first attempt. A further marker of Taylor’s intelligence, all of his scores were passing on both the old and new GED scales. Taylor now has a star hanging in the Paxen classroom to celebrate his success and to inspire future GED graduates.