Single mom graduates, heads for the skies |

Single mom graduates, heads for the skies

Ann Bowlan remembers picking cotton in Alabama when she was only 3. Life got better at times, and husbands made an economic difference. But when they left, her lack of a high school degree always brought back the struggle.

That’s why Bowlan, 52, wants to encourage other single mothers to get a GED high school equivalency certificate like the one she just earned from the Nevada Joint Union High School District Adult Education program.

“Don’t think you’ll get married and your husband will take care of everything,” Bowlan said. “He could die, break his leg or go off with somebody he likes better.

“I encourage single moms to get an education. I wasn’t able to get a lot of jobs because I didn’t have mine.”

Now that she does, Bowlan will soon be a flight attendant for Atlantic Coast Airlines. The company made her an offer earlier, but she had to get her GED before they would put her in the air.

Bowlan left high school when she was 16 to help her family make the bills after they moved to Kern County. At 19, she married and moved to Italy. That is when she first took the GED, but she failed the science portion.

Thirty years later she was in Nevada County, divorced again with two children and three jobs. One Christmas, she had no money, so the kids got Bibles and their parents’ old wedding rings.

“They said it was OK,” Bowlan said. “They said it was the best Christmas we ever had.

“My kids were supportive, they stood by me. They and Jesus Christ have always been the source of my strength.”

But she wanted everything to be better so she went back to school to get her GED. She failed again, this time because of the math portion of the program, twice. She finally passed with the help of teachers, such as Lisa Stine, who has been helping GED students like Bowlan for the past 15 years.

“It provides a second chance for folks who weren’t ready or able to finish high school,” Stine said. “Most of them haven’t had any positive educational experience.

“It really does move their lives forward,” Stine said. “They wipe away a negative attitude about themselves.”

“I wanted to better myself,” Bowlan said. “It’s never too late.”

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