Randus Phillips is the Center for Literacy’s 2009 GED® Graduate of the Year. He has a deep commitment to rise above all of the difficult challenges he has endured throughout his life. Despite his many obstacles, Randus remains persistent.
Randus dropped out of high school in the 12th grade. As a student at West Philadelphia High School, he encountered unbearable bouts of bullying. The bullying he endured did not break his spirit, but his tolerance eventually dissipated. The bullying he says stemmed from the fact “that I came from a poor family and did not dress like them.” In addition to this, he suffered a terrible accident where he fractured his leg, which left him physically disabled. His physical disability made him even more unlike his peers, and the bullying intensified.
He also became the primary caretaker for his mother, who suffered from diabetes, which exacerbated the pressures he faced on a daily basis. His mother became blind when he was a sophomore. Though he went through so much, Randus said, “I got A’s and B’s with the occasional C” in school. However, all of the pressures finally caved in on him, and he dropped out.
A year after dropping out he said he searched for GED® programs and said, “I found CFL through a Google search.” He started GED® classes in 2005. In a surprising turn of events, Randus’s identity was stolen, so he was not allowed to register for the GED® exams because there were questions of who he really was. It took him three years to correct the damage and worked with the U.S. Department of State to fix the mess. During this time, his mother became increasingly ill. His mother eventually died from diabetes in March of 2007. His determination to succeed did not die. Unbroken, with his identity issues cleared, he returned to CFL in June of 2008 to work toward his high school diploma.
Randus said he wanted “to better myself and improve my life.” He received his GED® in August of 2008. On the GED® science test, he scored in the 90th percentile in the nation and in the 80th percentile in math. He recently completed Job Corps, an education and training program. He hopes to work as a pharmacy technician and test soon for certification. “After I am able to save up enough money, I want to go to college to study computer technology,” he said. Randus encourages others in similar difficult circumstances to “stick with it, keep pushing, and never give up.” He credits his aunt’s unyielding support for getting him to this point. He is now 23 years old and says, “I am so happy I was able to rise above all the bad things that have happened to me.”