Student Spotlight: Phillip Mach

Phillip Mach is 40 years old and came to the U.S in 2001 from South Sudan. In 2010, he was referred to OACES by an OACES employee.

Phillip’s goal is to get a well-paying job to support himself and extended family back home. However, all prospective jobs he is looking at require a high school diploma. Part of Phillip’s employment process is to come to OACES to receive his HSE (High School Equivalency). Before coming to OACES, Phillip was confident and hopeful in himself as well as the teachers at OACES. His main concern was his overall ability to receive his HSE in order to get a job. With a HSE, Phillip is able to get more desired jobs. He is looking for a job that will allow him to make enough money to live a good life here in the U.S.

Phillip is most proud of the fact that he came to OACES when he did not have to. He had a goal in mind and acted on his own. At first, Phillip tried the electrical class but ended up dropping it due to scheduling issues. Despite this letdown, Phillip came back to OACES, but this time, to receive his HSE.

Thus far, Phillip has completed the Math and Science sections of his HSE. The digital literacy skills Phillip has gained since the pandemic started is how to search things online and connect with people on Facebook. When Phillip had to do work at home, in order to complete assignments in a timely manner, he needed access to technology. Irrespective of the pandemic, there is always a need for technology in adult education. A lot of your work is done at home, not solely in class. However, you need to have access to technology and internet to do so.

Phillip has learned new digital skills during this pandemic. Technology is new and intimidating especially when your education can depend on it during a pandemic. Phillip noted that the teachers at OACES have good relationships with their students and that creates a high retention rate. Teachers at OACES look out for the students and their best interests. Phillip’s favorite subject is Math, and his favorite teacher is Mr. Dreyer. He will be very excited once he receives his diploma.

Phillip is one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. During the Second Sudanese War, approximately 2 million boys from the Nuer and Dinka ethnic groups were killed and over 20,000 were displaced or orphaned. These boys made their journey to refugee camps in Ethiopia. Official resettlement programs began throughout the United States and these programs promised a better life and created an opportunity for the Lost Boys to move to major cities in the U.S.

Phillip has to work harder than the average American to get his HSE and a well-paying job. “When I came to the U.S., I thought it was for a better life. I did not get that; I didn’t get anything”. The American dream is an idealistic philosophy that once you come to the U.S., there are multitudes of opportunities for success and economic prosperity. This is said to be achieved through hard work with little barriers stopping you from succeeding. This does not exist for all- especially for refugees. Working harder does not necessarily equate to a good life. Because of this, Phillip must work harder to be at a similar level as Americans. Through his continued success at OACES, Phillip is headed in the right direction to achieve all of his short-term and long-term goals.

Sharing is caring!