Helen Boben's Story

At an early age, Helen had endured a life full of challenges, heartache and negative circumstances. At the age of 16, she dropped out of high School. “I had no guidance,” she said. Then, one day, after years of drug abuse, she found herself praying. As her faith grew stronger, she began thinking about the unconscionable, finishing her High School Equivalency. But, that’s when she also began having her doubts. “I was embarrassed about my age. And, thought I was slow. I always thought I had a disability because I just couldn’t get things, especially when it came to math, she said.”

In 2007, she was referred to the Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center by an acquaintance. She enrolled in the ATTAIN Lab, but weeks later felt that she wasn’t progressing. She stopped going to class. This led to a succession of enrolling and dropping out of various High School Equivalency programs throughout Manhattan and the Bronx. A few years later, she felt confident enough to take the High School Equivalency exam, but failed the math component.

In 2015, she returned to the MEOC and enrolled in the Intro to High School Equivalency program. She was diligent and was determined to succeed. She attended classes every day and even took advantage of the tutorial services provided to all enrolled students. Eventually, persistency paid off. She took the High School Equivalency Exam and, after several attempts, passed.

“If I can say one thing to students of any age, be encouraged. Nothing is impossible. God, I believe, is with me every day of my life. I didn’t think I could do it,” she said. “But I did.”

SUNY Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center
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