They dreamed of college degrees, of becoming pharmacy technicians, nurses and police officers. They yearned for more options and control over their futures.

But they struggled with learning disabilities, broken homes, unplanned pregnancies, unreliable transportation, unemployment, illiteracy, poverty, test anxiety, felonies, misdemeanors, self-medication and self-doubt. One step forward, three steps back. Failures and obstacles. They all dropped out of high school. Some even got duped by phony diploma programs and online colleges promising an easy path.

Last December, 40 thinkers, dreamers and doers graduated from Achievement Academy of Durham’s GED program . Difficulty and distractions riddle the road ahead, but the graduates push on aware of their untold potential.

For more about Achievement Academy’s GED and college prep programs, contact executive director Gayle Erdheim at or at 919-956-8918.