From Adversity to Achievement: An Inspiring Journey to GED Success

Dec 8, 2023 | Indigenous Adult Education

By Sherman Marshall, SGU Director of Adult Basic Education

Joeviyhl pictured with her
commemorative diploma at the SGU graduation ceremony.

When Joeviyhl Waln encounters a challenge, she relies upon her positive outlook and determination to help get her through it. Joeviyhl recounts the difficulties she faced while attending high school. “When I was 16, I got pregnant and had my daughter in February 2017. I started going back to school. Later that year in December, I started having terrible headaches. I went into the clinic and was sent to get a CT scan. My life changed on that day in early December. They told me I had a tumor on my brainstem the size of a quarter. I had surgery to remove the brain tumor.”

In December 2022, Joeviyhl enrolled in the Adult Basic Education program at Sinte Gleska University (SGU) to pursue her GED certificate. Joeviyhl studied online from home, with support from the ABE staff. “When I first started, I’ll admit I was scared to fail,” Joeviyhl said. “I took my time, doing one subject at a time. When I got my first passing GED test score, my mindset changed. I was so happy that I couldn’t believe it! I felt like anything is possible if you really put your mind to it.”

Joeviyhl explains how she maintained her focus while pursuing her GED. “I have also failed and doubted that I could even finish. Anxiety really got the best of me. I started picturing the day I would graduate and that pushed me to keep going. I was sure that I would be walking across the stage and that would keep me calm during my last test.”

Joeviyhl stands outside
the SGU Nursing Department on the Antelope Lake campus.

After six months of hard work and persistence, Joeviyhl achieved her goal of obtaining her GED certificate. “I appreciate my teachers and everyone at the SGU GED Program. Without them, this wouldn’t be possible. Also, my family and friends who didn’t doubt that I could do this, especially my Unci, Vi Waln.”

Joeviyhl walked across the stage at the Sinte Gleska University graduation ceremony on August 25, 2023. The following week, Joeviyhl started her first semester as a student in the SGU Nursing Department. Joeviyhl’s future plans include completing her Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Licensed Practical Nursing and pursuing a career in healthcare.

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