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Stephanie speaks to the crowd at Reading Between the Wines 2019.

“Dreading the three letters, GED”: Stephanie’s Story

Stephanie Barbary, who is studying with Literacy Network’s GED/HSED tutoring program, shared her story about coming to Madison and what motivated her to get her GED. She wowed the crowd at Reading Between the Wines. Thank you, Stephanie for sharing your story!

My Life – My Truth

Hello all my name is Stephanie Barbary. I came to Madison for a better life.

I met a girl in my home town of Rockford, Illinois who told me about Madison. She went on to tell me how Madison was diverse, clean, nice, and the schools were awesome! Let’s just say I was sold. I did pray about it and decided to bring three kids, four bags, $1,600, a prayer, and a plan. I planned to come here, land a job, get an apartment, all this in less than a month. Reality kicked in when I got here. After staying in the hotel, I was left with having $250.00 and on my way to the Salvation Army I went. Some plan huh? Silly me!

I eventually got an apartment then a job because I lied about having my GED. I still felt incomplete knowing I couldn’t move on with my job, as I watched my coworkers moved up the ladder to their success. I started this journey to retrieve my GED a very long time ago. I started and stopped so many times I lost count. During those moments, I was diagnosed with ADHD. Who would have ever imagined me, Stephanie, having this issue? A learning disability…EMBRASSED was an understatement at this point. I underwent medication and psycho-therapy management. Still keeping quiet about this to some family and friends. Two of my children graduated and went onto college. I know this time I’m going to shine. I was promoted at my job to a training supervisor at a health care agency here in Madison. I was going to school. My supervisor asked what I was studying. I told him Business Administration. I lied again dreading the three letters, GED.

Finally, speaking to my niece who I had confided with about my issues, she simply told me, “Auntie Stephanie, none of that matters anymore. You will have your diploma. You be proud of that and move on with your actual degree.” I promise you. Everything clicked at that point. This young lady inspired me so much. I refused to be ashamed of me, of my story, and of my plan to start my own non-profit organization targeted towards homelessness. I don’t have everything written in stone yet but Madison, Wisconsin will defiantly hear my name in the community for greatness. Someone just like me is destined to have a story just like mine and is ashamed as I was. I want to bring greatness out in those who are not sure how to bring it out themselves.

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