NEWVOICES

In this, our third of five installments in our “New Voices” series (read more about the series below), we hear from 46-year-old Jennifer. When she read this essay last Spring, she was just about to get her General Education Diploma (GED).

(You can download the audio of Jennifer reading her essay by right-clicking on the link or you can stream it by clicking of the play button.)

“Something Great” by Jennifer

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

New Voices (you can listen to the first installment HERE, and the second installment HERE) came about this past Spring when The Big Something recorded personal essays by a group of students, many of whom, though not all, are immigrants learning English as a second language. Others are adults studying for their GED while working full-time jobs.

Their teacher, Sue Spengler, writes:

Teaching adults is beyond rewarding; I feel as if I am teaching two generations at once, because I know that whatever they learn, they will then be able to pass on to their children. My students inspire me every day with their persistence, determination, and often humor in the midst of it all. I repeatedly profess to them that EVERYONE has a story to tell, and that theirs are just as important as anybody elses.

Although they may be reading at the middle school level, many of my students are second language learners whose speaking and writing skills are still developing. So I have them talk and write about their lives. Thanks to KRCC, they now have a chance to tell them. I am so proud of their courage.

If you’d like to learn more about the students in Sue Spengler’s class, you can read their blogs at unity-2008.blogspot.com, and at writersofthefuture.blogspot.com.

(We always read and love and listen to your feedback, even if we don’t always respond directly. Please leave some below or email us at thebigsomething@gmail.com. Thanks!)

 

18 Responses to New Voices 3: Jennifer

  1. Matt H says:

    Congradulations Jennifer. Be proud of yourself for making today better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today. I’ll be thinking about this a lot today. Thank you Big Something.
    Thank you teachers everywhere.

  2. Sandra says:

    Congratulations, Jennifer! You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. Maggy says:

    Congratulations Jennife!!!!… you story great…

  4. suesun says:

    You might also be interested to know that next week, Oct. 18-23, is National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. Thank you, Big Something, for shining a spotlight on the power and importance of adult education in our community.
    And to Jennifer…. you go girl!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Vicky says:

    Jennifer,

    Thank you for sharing your story. You made me realise that you can reach any goal. When all you have to do is believe in yourself. Congrats and good luck at PPCC.

  6. vicky says:

    WOW!! Jennifer that was such an inspiring story. I am so proud of you really. It’s great that you only need the math test. I belive you will achieve your goal. Good luck. And again great story.

  7. Jenny says:

    Well, Jennifer you are a really good inspiration, thanks to the program of GED in Harrison now people can graduate from school, as they wish and if they really want to graduate they have to believe in themselves and graduate,so if they want to get a career and be someone in life and be proud of themselves.Keep up Jennifer!!

  8. Silvia says:

    Great job Jennifer.
    I always believe that if you want something you have to fight for it, and it looks like you did.
    Never stop dreaming, and never stop making those dreams came true.
    You are a really good example for others.

  9. Ricky says:

    That was a very touching story . We all have dreams, and we have to keep hope alive.’Keep GOD FIRST, AND U CAN DO WHAT U WANT’.Ms.Jennifer I’m glad u did not give up.Because we can do it.

  10. Elena E says:

    YOU ARE ALMOST THERE JENNIFER!KEEP GOING!

  11. Elba says:

    Congratulations Jenny,Good Luck in PPCC.
    And thanks to all the programs and teachers at Harrison School. They make possible we can achieve our goals.

  12. haida cortes says:

    I think you’re just about start, a big journey in you’re life of big opportunities. congratulation.

  13. marina says:

    Great story jennifer.keep going you can do it!!!!

  14. Eva Syrovy says:

    Jennifer, you tell a wonderful story. Keep it up – you’re doing great!

  15. Lee says:

    Jennifer, Your voice is full of grace! Thank you for your story!

  16. Hector Clark says:

    Hi Jennifer!
    I am a friend of Sue Spengler and I live in Budapest, Hungary. I have just heard your story and I would like to send you my congratulations on your great progress towards your GED. You are lucky to have found a teacher like Sue but especially, you can be proud of yourself because learning is like crossing the River Jordan – you have to do it for yourself – and you have! Well done and best wishes to you. (By the way, now you are famous on two continents – the USA and Europe.)
    Hector.

  17. Sarah Spengler says:

    Jennifer – congratulations! I was so inspired by your story and so happy for you. You are right about the need to find the right teacher and the right time – and most of all you are right about your own desire to learn being the most important part of all. Now that you have discovered and awakened that desire to learn and your belief in yourself, you can do anything you set your mind and heart to. All the Best,

    Sarah in Ohio

  18. Jennifer says:

    This is a simple thank you to all of you who left comments on my storey. I’m so thankful to God that I could be an inspiration to so many people. I never dreamed that my heart felt feelings could touch so many people. To read each and everyone of your comments really brought tears of joy to my eyes and heart. And yes this has been a long journey for me, but it has been the best traveled in my whole entire life. So thank you every one once again, and may God Bless us all.

News

AP
May 3, 2016 | NPR · How much will Donald Trump pad his lead, and what will Ted Cruz do next? Even if Bernie Sanders wins, Hillary Clinton’s lead is virtually insurmountable. And the GOP Senate primary is one to watch.
 

AP
May 3, 2016 | NPR · If Donald Trump wins most of Indiana’s delegates, his path to the nomination would be clear. Even if Bernie Sanders wins the state, he will likely wake up with less of a chance of being the nominee.
 

AFP/Getty Images
May 3, 2016 | NPR · The unfavorable numbers for Democrats look pretty bad lately. Their one silver lining: the GOP’s look even worse.
 

Arts & Life

Edsel Little/Flickr
May 2, 2016 | NPR · Most James Beard awards go to haute cuisine, but one prize recognizes classic neighborhood joints. And increasingly, the winners are immigrants whose cultures haven’t yet dissolved in the melting pot.
 

AP
May 2, 2016 | NPR · Some say the Nightly Show host utterly bombed his routine at Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Others say he simply had a different crowd in mind.
 

May 2, 2016 | NPR · Simon de Pury has been called both the Mick Jagger and the Peter Pan of auctions. Dealer, collector, curator, schmoozer, his clients include billionaires, rock stars and royalty. He dishes plenty about the art market in his new book, The Auctioneer, and he explains the rise and fall of his own auction house, Phillips de Pury.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
May 2, 2016 | WXPN · Hear a stomping blues-rock duo that sounds like a two-person Led Zeppelin reincarnation.
 

Getty Images
May 2, 2016 | FA · John Doe, Exene Cervenka and Dave Alvin of X join Fresh Air to discuss punk’s early days. “Anybody could belong to punk that wanted to be there,” Cervenka says. “[It] didn’t matter how old you were.”
 

NPR
May 2, 2016 | NPR · Watch the Grammy-winning Chicago sextet perform new music by David Lang, Bryce Dessner and Robert Honstein.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab