OUR LEARNER SPOTLIGHT: Vernon Newsome, 35, Graduate
For recent BeLit grad Vernon Newsome, family is his inspiration and support system. “It felt amazing to send pictures to my mother and grandmother in my cap and gown,” he said.
Vernon grew up in West Philadelphia moving between various schools. After falling behind a grade level, he dropped out of high school. “I was not doing right, and that didn’t go well for me,” he said. In March 2018, Vernon found himself facing challenges that lead to incarceration, motivating him to rise above his circumstances and obtain his GED.
While away, he began reading and taking classes, but was released before he could complete their academic program. At the encouragement of his family and friends, Vernon enrolled in our free classes right away. Vernon attended in-person until the pandemic forced him online. Fortunately, he had no trouble adjusting and completed his GED in only a few months. Vernon appreciated the support of BeLit’s teachers and staff. “They will help you, but you have to work for it. It won’t happen until you really want change for yourself,” he said.
Since completing his GED, Vernon began working for the City of Philadelphia Sanitation Department in Northeast Philadelphia where he excels at his role. When he first arrived on the job, his teammates assumed he had transferred there from a different location due to his quick adaptability and strong work ethic.
Vernon is currently enrolled in night training classes to gain his Commercial Driver’s License and will take his test on August 10th. His goal is to start fresh with his fiancé and baby in a new state where he can own and operate his own trucks. He is proud to set a positive example for his children who range from 1-year-old to 17. “Once you can put your family first, everything else will fall into place for you.”