David Gregg has a goal.
He wants to pick up where he left off more than three decades ago. There’s a lot of work involved, but David isn’t going it alone. He has Bill Williamson to help guide the way.
David is originally from El Paso, Texas, and moved to the Elkhart area with his parents when he was 3 years old. He attended school, but never finished the 12th grade.
“My daughter was born,” he said. “She’s now 32.”
David started working, and going back to school wasn’t really part of his plan.
“At that time, I didn’t think that far ahead,” he said. “As I walk through life and see – especially the past 20 years – it seems like education is very important to gain any real ground.”
Helping David gain that ground is where Bill – and Horizon Education Alliance – come in.
Horizon Education Alliance (HEA) offers high school equivalency (HSE) instruction free of charge through its Adult Pathways program. Horizon’s HSE preparation integrates online learning and provides consistent support and opportunities to build positive relationships with peers and instructors. Through collaboration with libraries, businesses, and community agencies, HEA is able to offer its program at locations across Elkhart County. HEA also provides access to computer labs for online education.
Bill has been a volunteer tutor with Horizon since October 2017. David is his first student, or as Bill jokes, “my only victim.”
Bill had retired a year before he began tutoring.
“I have hobbies that I like to do, but I also started to think after a while that we all have bumps in the road in our lives,” he said. “I’ve had a pretty good life, and I decided it’s best to give something back.”
“I didn’t even know what HEA was,” he noted. “There was an article about them in the newspaper, so I looked them up on the Internet.” Then he contacted HEA and said he’d like to volunteer.
Together, Bill and David have worked on language, sentence structure, grammar, and reading.
“One lesson tends to build toward the next one,” Bill said. “They get maybe successively a little more difficult. After a few months of that we started writing paragraphs, which then led to essays…We kind of go back and forth. There really isn’t a super-dedicated structure.”
Both Bill and David said that working with each other has been a rewarding experience. And David doesn’t think he’d be where he is now if not for HEA.
“I had done other programs through the years, none as successfully as this one,” he said. “A lot of times, the classrooms were too big. There wasn’t enough staff. There wasn’t the one-on-one we experience here.
“With this being one-on-one, I’ve progressed at least twice as much as I had in the past in other school settings,” he continued. “I can tell when I leave a note with somebody or text somebody – it’s coming out of me, what we’ve invested here. I’m using more and more emails lately, too. I find myself looking a little deeper into what I’m writing and how I’m wording things. What I’m learning is really sticking with me.”
David is hoping to take the HSE exam before the end of summer.
“We’re getting closer and closer to the goal,” he said.