My name is Luis Rodrigues. I earned my High School Equivalency Credential on April 15, 2021, by working in the TRADE program at Training Resources of America Brockton.
I have been trying to get my diploma for many years. I was born in Cape Verde, and came to the United States when I was 17 years old. But the American high school told me that I needed to start over as a freshman. I got frustrated and dropped out of high school. After that, I found that my employment options were very limited. I was working long hours in a factory, for a company called Stoneridge. They suddenly went out of business, and I found myself without a job. I did not want to go back to working in a factory for minimum wage. I realized that I needed to go back to school and get my diploma. That’s when I found TRA. Their program seemed like the perfect fit. I was feeling driven and very excited for this opportunity. Unfortunately, 3 months later the COVID pandemic hit the States full force and all our lives changed. I lost two of my best friends within the same week. I thought it couldn’t get any worse. But two months later, I got infected. It was bad. I was in the hospital. I lost a lot of weight, couldn’t sleep at night, and I felt really weak. I didn’t think I was going to make it. Schoolwork was the last thing on my mind. I felt like quitting, and I was ready to give up. But, in the middle of all the setbacks and the hopelessness, I would get up every day and listen to motivational speeches on YouTube. This helped me stay focused, and not give up on my education. For me, success was the only option. And Ms. Nahoko, my teacher at TRA, wouldn’t give up on me. She was always there, reassuring me that I could do it.
With the support of my family and the whole TRA staff, I was able to push through my pain and pass the HiSET (even the Math part, which was not easy for me). I not only got my diploma, but I also learned that I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to do.