OUR LEARNER SPOTLIGHT: Christina Battle, Graduate
Christina Battle was overwhelmed with excitement the morning of June 16th when NBC10’s film crew arrived at her North Philadelphia home to feature her as a Beyond Literacy graduate. She knew earning her High School Equivalency would be the key to moving forward in her career and to supporting her family. As a mother of three young children, and her fourth due in November, Christina was motivated more than ever to succeed. Thanks to a generous donation from Comcast, Christina and her fellow Class of 2021 graduates each received a brand-new Dell Laptop along with a 1-year internet subscription, which is more than fitting now that Christina was just accepted to Southern New Hampshire University to study Computer Science. Computers have always piqued her interest, and now she has the tools to explore her passions and foster them into a lifelong career. “I’ve always thought this was my lane. Working with technology is exciting to me,” she said. Having worked with computers since a young age, Christina has relied on educational technology more than most. Attending school in-person has always been challenging for her due to ongoing health concerns, forcing Christina to find alternative ways to complete her education. When possible, Christina would pursue her studies from home until her health allowed her back in the classroom. So, when COVID-19 forced everyone to engage online, Christina was already familiar with the ins and outs of remote learning.
Because remote assessments were not available at the onset of the pandemic, Christina had to wait months to earn her High School Equivalency until supervised online testing became approved by PA’s Department of Education. She struggled to stay optimistic throughout the uncertainty and felt fortunate to be able to lean on her supportive teacher, Jen Whistler, who made her feel confident about herself and her future. Jen reassured Christina by providing encouraging feedback and creating intentional space and time for her students to share their test taking experiences. “Christina is very inquisitive and persistent. She wants to see everyone succeed and cares deeply about her classmates and family,” Jen says. Christina will begin studying for her Associate Degree in Computer Science in August and is confident that now with her diploma, her new computer from Comcast, and her children as motivation, anything is possible for her future. “Graduating was important because I know it opens doors for more things to succeed in life. It was important to graduate so my children can see that it’s never too late, you’re never too old in age to finish school.”