Sunday, April 08, 2012

hard work pays off

It's true.  I don't wear makeup to work very often.  Recently, I've really been trying to do better at getting ready in the mornings.  But, this post isn't about makeup.

This photo is Uheina and me.  I was Uheina's job coach for a year.  When she came to work, it was her first job outside of the home.  She is the mother of 13 children.  She was born in Tonga and came to the United States as a teenager.  When she was in Tonga, she had the opportunity but did not finish her education.  Now, 25 years later, she had the desire to complete her high school education.

Uheina and I started by reading.  I would read to her and then she would read to me.  I still have not finished the one story we started.  I was so disappointed when she said she had finished it at home without me.  She loved to read the Christmas poems and stories from Elder Vaughan J. Featherstone's book.  After she got more comfortable with the idea of reading, and lots of practice at pronouncing "ask" or "asked" she began reading with one of our service missionaries.

After some convincing, she began the GED study class.  And after a little more time, Uheina decided she would like to finish her high school credits rather than take the GED.  The problem is, apparently 25 year old high school credits from another country don't transfer easily.  So, Uheina had to start from the beginning.  And she did.

When I left her to transfer to another building, Uheina and I had a long talk and she agreed that she would stay at work, doing her high school packets with the service missionary, until she got her diploma.  I know there were a lot of times that she wanted to stay home and not finish.  She had family things come up and work things come up that made it a hard decision for her to stick with school.  Uheina told me that it was her promise to me that kept her working and testing to earn her credits.

After so much hard work, after lots of ups and downs, encouragement and discouragement from home, Uheina called me last week.  Her voice mail said that it was her last day at work and to call her back.  I was so surprised by the message and I got a little worried that she had given up because of something that happened at work.  So I called her right back.

Uheina had taken her last test and had earned her high school diploma!  So per our agreement, she worked her last day and said she wiped her feet on the way out.  Uheina finished her entire high school while working, with 9 children at home, and a new grandbaby living at her house.

I was so happy to hear what she had done!  The time went so quickly!  Uheina did all of the work.  No one could read for her, understand for her, or test for her.  She did it!  I am so grateful for her example and now for her lifelong friendship!