Shawn Moore had a goal. Encouraged by a friend of his, a Wood County Deputy Sheriff, Shawn decided that he wanted to become a Texas Concealed Handgun License Instructor. To become a CHL instructor a person must: have a clean record, pass a marksmanship test, and attend a weeklong class in Austin which includes a test over the required 400 page manual. The first two requirements were a breeze for Shawn, he has a clean record and he’s an excellent shot. Unfortunately, a test over a 400 page manual presented an insurmountable obstacle for a young man who has difficulty reading and writing.
As a child Shawn was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, and although his school knew of his learning differences, not much was done to help him learn. “Seems like I spent most of my time in P.E. and gardening,” Shawn says. He has held a job since he was ten years old and as a teen started working in the oil fields. “I was making good money,” he says with a shrug, “so I dropped out of high school.” “Of course,” he adds, “if I knew then what I know now I would have tried harder. Without an education, nobody will hire you.”
After only a few minutes talking with Shawn it’s easy to see that he’s a tireless worker. A mechanic at his family’s auto repair business, Automotive & Moore, Shawn also runs a dirt-moving business and a tree-farm on the side. He also organizes the annual Machine Gun Shoot Out in Big Sandy. This is a large, well attended fund-raising event that benefits the scholarship fund of the Hawkins Masonic Lodge. Obviously, Shawn kept himself busy, but he always knew that someday he would want to improve his educational level. It wasn’t until he decided to add CHL instructor to his impressive list of jobs, however, that he decided to seek help..
In August of 2010 at 23 years old, Shawn came to LCOT. His reading and writing levels were evaluated and then he was matched with tutor Rachel Bridges. Like many adult education students, the learning differences that caused Shawn to struggle in school were still present. But LCOT teachers are trained in methods to assist students like Shawn and, using a variety of teaching techniques specifically designed for ADHD and dyslexia, Rachel and Shawn were able to make significant progress with his reading and writing skills.
Shawn’s family is proud and supportive of his decision to further his education. He smiles when he recounts a recent conversation with his mom. “See, I’m up at 4:00 in the morning doing chores,” Shawn explains, “then I go to my first job until 5:00 p.m. then to my second job until 8:00 p.m. Then when I finally get back to the house I work on my homework. The other day my mom said, ‘Maybe you should just stay home once in awhile.’”
In January 2011, Shawn took and passed the CHL instructor class and exam. Although with his certificate in hand, he had achieved the goal that originally brought him to LCOT, Shawn is now determined to keep coming to class until he can take and pass the GED. With every grade-level his skills have advanced, Shawn’s dreams for the future have expanded. When asked how his LCOT classes have changed his life, Shawn pauses for a second and then looks away, saying, “Words can’t describe.”