All in Good Time
Updated: Feb 18, 2020
Mother of five, Kayla Lopez Rosales can hold her head up proudly; she is an example to her kids of how hard work pays off. After years of patiently waiting for the perfect opportunity to take the HiSET class, Kayla enrolled in Goodwill Acadiana’s program and reached her goal of obtaining a high school equivalency diploma. In December 2019, she walked across the stage as a HiSET diploma recipient.
School was always enjoyable for Kayla, and she was actually doing well at it. She planned to go to college, but found out she was going to be a mom. Education was put on the backburner because she didn’t have a babysitter or money to pay for one. She made the decision to drop out in 9th grade, not knowing when she would have the opportunity to return. Later, after having a second child and moving to Mississippi with her husband, Kayla knew returning to school still wasn’t a viable option. She was in another state with no family, and she didn’t know anyone she trusted enough to babysit her children.
Eventually, Kayla and her husband returned to Louisiana and their family grew some more. School was again pushed aside so Kayla could care for her children. She knew in her heart that if she patiently waited until her kids were a little older, she would finally be able to begin her goal of earning her HiSET. Naturally, being a mom to school aged children meant that Kayla had to help with homework and projects. “It’s almost as if I’ve kept up with the work all these years by helping my kids out,” said Kayla.
One day while shopping at a Goodwill Acadiana retail store, she saw the sign advertising the HiSET program and thought to herself “Just give it a try.” She met the Opelousas HiSET instructor, Janet, and learned information about the program and what it entailed. At the time, Kayla was pregnant, but she wanted to start attending classes anyway. It didn’t work out for her, and she wasn’t able to attend classes like she wanted, but instead of stressing about it, she decided to patiently wait a few more years until her youngest started school. The very same day that her youngest son started school, Kayla went to Janet to speak with her about the HiSET. “I told her I had nothing in my way and was ready,” said Kayla. Janet gave her practice work and told her to take her time with it. Kayla was very excited and could not wait any longer; she completed the work within a few days. She turned it into Janet for review and to Kayla’s surprise, she had done very well.
Kayla knew that being away from a classroom setting for so long meant that she would need much practice before she was ready to start the process of taking the HiSET. She attended class and tried her hardest. Everyone who was already in the class welcomed her and treated her with kindness. Being in the HiSET class wasn’t always the easiest task. “Still having my responsibilities as a mom and wife sometimes made it hard to study and look over my work as much as I wanted,” said Kayla. “But I just knew I couldn’t give up. I have my kids who look up to me as an example, and I was [going to] be the best they knew.” Throughout her HiSET process, her husband, kids, and family were her biggest supporters. When Kayla felt like the work was getting too hard, her oldest daughter would say “Mom let’s look at your work together, I’m sure I can help you out.” Those words were the encouragement that Kayla needed to remove her fear.
After being in class for a month, Kayla asked Janet if she thought she was ready to start the testing process. Without hesitation, Janet assured Kayla that she was ready, but it was up to her to decide. They scheduled the tests and Kayla continued going to class and doing the practice work. Kayla felt nervous going into the first exam. When she pressed that button and saw that she had passed, her nervousness turned into excitement. She called both her husband and Janet and cried happy tears. In two months, Kayla passed the remainder of her tests and was officially a HiSET grad.
The time came for her to celebrate her achievement by walking across the stage. She knew she could look back at her journey and be happy with the results. “It might have taken years to get to this point, but that didn’t matter,” Kayla said about her graduation. “I was so proud of what I had done. To see the look on all my family’s and friends’ faces when I got to walk across that stage was the best feeling ever. Knowing that I was setting an example in my children’s lives is one of the greatest accomplishments. Goodwill has changed my life for the better, and I will always be grateful for that.”
Kayla’s story would not have been possible without the support Goodwill Acadiana has received from the community. This year marks 30 years that Goodwill has been in the Acadiana area, and many people have donated items or shopped in our locations throughout these three decades. These actions allow Goodwill Acadiana to provide employment services to the public for free, and help change lives like Kayla’s. For more information on our services please call 337-769-7650.