Diamond in the Rough

Parents living in Gadsden County who've dropped out of school or never pursued an education now have an alternative center geared at helping them fulfill their academic dreams. The learning center is receiving high marks from its students.

Wanda Threatts is a single mother of four who dropped out of high school in the ninth grade. Threatts, who was on a third grade reading level, didn't realize she signed papers she thought would give a relative temporary custody of her child while she recuperated from an illness.

"I didn't know how to read the forms and the paper she had given me so I just signed it and gave it to her. I got a letter in the mail saying she had full custody and I was wondering how," says Wanda.

That lesson made Threatts understand how valuable an education can be. Threatts is one of 18 women in Gadsden County enrolled at the Diamond Academy, a center geared to helping low income families get their lives in order.

Marixcia Chrishon, Diamond Academy Adult Education Coordinator, says, "We have parents who come here and obtain their GED and then they go on to get a job or more on to college or vocational school and prepares them to work, so its important that they come here and take advantage of these services.”

Services that also includes preschool for young children, while keeping their parents on the fast track to academic success.

Threatts says, "The higher my children get in school the more I can help them with homework, and the stuff they teach us out here I can go back home and teach them."

These students aren't only learning the ABCs of the GED, but how to become better parents as well. The academy's director says they've had a huge success rate, with some of the students now seeking a college degree.