Three Generations Pursue Higher Education


Education is the cornerstone to a successful life. And no matter what age, it is something to be pursued, to not only enhance one’s life, but to fulfill it. For one family, they have placed education at the forefront, and aim to be an example for others of all ages that education is attainable. Mr. Victor Hayes, retired military veteran, has led the charge in furthering his education, followed by his son, Terrel Hayes and 72 year old mother-in-law, Ms. Diane Banks.

“I spent 23 years in United States Army and didn’t know what I was going to do when I retired. So I decided to go back to school,” recalls Mr. Hayes, 51. He was led to San Diego through the military and once he and his family arrived, he learned of California College of San Diego. Mr. Hayes’ wife also serves in the military and is currently active duty; he is pursing a career in computer technology.

On bringing the family into his pursuit of education, Mr. Hayes says, “My youngest son went to the school also to obtain his GED during the same time. We brought my mother-in-law out here and found out she wanted to get her GED so it became a family affair for us to go to school together. We would leave the house around 7:30 in the morning and carpool and get there early because our classes started at different times.”

Mr. Hayes’ son Terrel shares in his father’s excitement in furthering his education, stating that he decided to obtain his GED because his high school diploma was not originally accepted by his former school, University of Phoenix. He then moved to California and after his father spoke to California College on his behalf, he signed up.

“This experience has definitely brought us closer together as a family. There are moments where my fatherneeded help with his homework and I would help him, or I was stuck on something and he would try and lend his hand.

My grandmother and I help each other out too because at one point we were in the same class, which was social studies. We could compare notes and note taking strategies,” said Terrel, 21.

Both Mr. Hayes and Terrel express that age should have nothing to do with one’s pursuit of education. And Mr. Hayes pushes that even through the intimidation one may feel on going back to school, to battle through those initial feelings because the outcome is always great.

“All the personnel at California College made it a lot easier because they encouraged us and gave the opportunity to pursue a higher education. Never give up your dream of education. Education is always worth it. You can never lose out by going back to school.”

Terrel preached on the platform of dedication. “Regardless of whether it’s your GED or Associates Degree or whatever, I think the best thing that people should know is that you have to be dedicated. You can’t go in for a semester and then if it doesn’t work out say ‘I quit’. You have to stay dedicated and you have to study. Even with the GED program, I studied and made sure I knew exactly what the teacher was talking about. Once you slack off, it hinders you, it becomes a problem. Stay focused.” He adds that a great support system can make the difference in successfully pursuing an education. Terrel has absolutely benefitted from a great support system within his family.

Mr. Hayes began his degree program in November 2012 and will graduate June 2014. Terrel completed his GED program this past February.

Mr. Hayes adds, “Pursuing an education is scary, but once you start it, you’ll realize that it’s not really that scary at all. If I can do it, anybody can do it.”

This three-generation family has exemplified how dedication and support can truly make a different in someone’s life; not only individually, but on the collective family unit.

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