July 28, 2014

Elyria
Partly cloudy
68°F
test

71-year-old grandma graduates with GED after she left high school in 1959

PITTSFIELD TWP. — Phyrn Coleman was tempted to seek her GED when she stopped by a booth at the Lorain County Fair.

Phyrn Coleman, 71, center, waits with other graduates and family members during graduation ceremonies at Lorain County Joint Vocational School.

Phyrn Coleman, 71, center, waits with other graduates and family members during graduation ceremonies at Lorain County Joint Vocational School.

She read about free classes for GED preparation at the Lorain County Joint Vocational School.

“I thought, ‘Why not do it?’ ” she said.

Coleman, who dropped out of Cleveland’s John Marshall High School in 1959, said her toughest challenges were algebra and geometry.

The math was different than any math she had taken in her youth, but she looked on the bright side.

“It was good exercise for my brain,” she said. “I failed the math portion three times, but kept on trying.”

She passed in February with the help of extra tutoring and encouragement from her JVS instructors.

Coleman, 71, graduated last Tuesday with an appreciation from her family for a job well done.

JoAnn Stanley, a daughter, said, “We’re so impressed she had the fortitude to stick with it.”

Coleman said it was nice to accomplish something for herself after devoting her time to the needs of her family, including raising three children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Coleman also cared for her mother-in-law, Anna, and her husband, Charles, who both eventually required around-the-clock attention for bed-ridden disabilities.

“I never regretted a minute of it. It was a labor of love,” Coleman said.

Coleman said that she came close to quitting school altogether just three weeks into the program, which meant night classes four days a week.

“I was the oldest person in my class and felt a little intimidated,” she said.

A pep talk from another daughter, Carol, convinced her to continue.

“Carol looked me straight in the eye and asked, ‘If you quit, what kind of an example will you be setting for your children and grandchildren?’ ” she said. “It knocked me for a loop.”

Coleman said that she plans to enjoy summer camping and may take a course or two at Lorain County Community College sometime soon.

“My granddaughter, Heather, graduated from LCCC last year, so I’m very familiar with the campus,” Coleman said. “But for now, I’ll be spending some time with my great-grandson (Dominic).”

After a summer of fun at Rustic Lakes campground, Coleman said she has big plans.

“After I go home in October I plan to find a job,” she said.

It’s never too late for education

For more information about GED classes, or any of the programs at the Lorain County JVS Adult Career Center, call (440) 774-1051, ext. 2254, (440) 986-6601, ext. 2254, or visit lcjvs.com/adult or info@lcjvs.net.

The summer class is full, but there will be morning and evening classes in the fall. Call after Aug. 1 for information about how to sign up for a two-day orientation.

Send your Wellington and Oberlin news to Cindy Leise, 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.

  • TheDon Corleone

    What a waste.