Student Spotlight: Dwayne Hall Sr.

Dwayne Hall Sr. is 59 and originally from the Bronx. He moved to Rochester in 1976 to be closer to family. When Dwayne was a senior in high school, he began traveling the world for boxing and ended up dropping out. Dwayne’s priorities changed due to his rising career and it was no longer education.

Dwayne has worked numerous jobs throughout his life. However, with changing times, those jobs he once worked now require a high school diploma; something Dwayne does not possess. Dwayne is currently not able to work, but he does not want to sit at home anymore.

Dwayne was familiar with OACES because of their other programs offered, so he knew he could get his HSE there. He finally decided to enroll in 2016 to receive his HSE (High School Equivalency). At first, he felt helpless and worried that he was going to fail out shortly after starting. Not only was he worried about failing out but being stuck in this same spot for the rest of his life.

It’s been a lifelong goal of Dwayne’s to receive his HSE. He promised his late parents and wife that he would get his HSE. For his entire life, Dwayne lied and claimed he had it. Rather than be ashamed, he decided to simply get his HSE. However, it’s not that simple.

Coming to OACES has changed Dwayne’s life completely. He is, “not doing things [that are self-destructive on the streets] out of frustration.” Having structure in school allows for Dwayne to turn his detrimental habits into constructive behaviors and routines that work towards his education.

Dwayne reads a lot of books, some being online. He is also familiar with computers, having worked on them in the past. With that being said, technology has drastically changed since then. It is difficult to keep up with technology in the very frequent changing times, especially in today’s day in age. Now that Dwayne is back in school, he has to utilize his newly developed digital skills in order to submit assignments and do research online.

Dwayne feels as if he is learning all over again. In the past, when Dwayne would read books, he felt as if he was reading but not understanding it fully or not retaining all the information. Now having to do a lot of work digitally, it’s imperative that Dwayne fully understands his studies. With the help from teachers, Dwayne has learned tips and tricks for how to be successful in his education in the digital age. This ranges from to how to receive, complete, and send/submit assignments all from your phone online on various platforms.

Dwayne recommends that others to come to OACES before you are brain stuck. He doesn’t want others to wait until it’s too late. In order to be successful at OACES, Dwayne says that one needs dedication, a good attitude, and to be able to control their feelings when things don’t go as planned. You should have a plan to create structure in your life, but be prepared for things to not go as planned; but the more you have planned, the less things can go awry.

When coming to school, Dwayne feels proud doing something about his lifelong aspiration of receiving his HSE. He is most inspired by his abilities he never knew he possessed and getting close to achieving his goal. Dwayne is a firm believer that, “you don’t need to always receive a HSE for a purpose, you can do it for yourself. You can better yourself through education”, and that is precisely what Dwayne is trying to accomplish by coming to OACES.

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