Dreaming and Succeeding: Tabatha Mullens’s Story

“The most important thing I could to tell anybody else is to not give up.” - Tabatha Mullens

“The most important thing I could to tell anybody else is to not give up.” – Tabatha Mullens

Thinking back to her high school days does not bring back fond memories of childhood friends, and supportive teachers for Tabatha Mullens.

Her family moved around a lot, and after having negative encounters with teachers, she decided to drop out in the 10th grade.  She soon started a family and by all accounts was doing fairly well.  She got married in 2005 and had five kids. But she wasn’t happy.  She yearned to get her high school diploma and train in the medical field and establish a career.  Before she could do this, she lost her mother to illness in 2009. She took on the responsibility of raising her 14 year old brother which left little time for herself.  And so for the next two years, getting her GED had to wait.

With much hesitation, she decided to call Literacy Council of Tyler in 2011.  With plans of just getting information, she was pleasantly surprised when she was met with a friendly voice on the other line who immediately signed her up for the next enrollment.  With the support of her family, she was able to start night classes in October.  Tabatha also took on the task of participating in the Dual Enrollment program in which she took Dental Assistant classes on the nights she was not in GED class. Tabatha excelled in both classes with almost perfect attendance.

Her experience of school was definitely changing.  “Mr. Jim and Mr. Leo are so nice and supportive,” she says. “I’ve learned so much from them”.

Tabatha received her Dental Assistance license in January 2013 and her GED in May 2013, right before her 29th birthday.  She currently works at a pediatric dental office in Tyler and loves what she does.  She is considering a career in dental hygiene and plans to continue her studies at Tyler Junior College in the Dental Hygiene program.  Now that she has her GED and Dental Assistant license, her job prospects are more promising.

She loves the fact that she can talk to her children about finishing school and going to college using herself as an example.

Her next goal is to get her husband back in school.

Visualizing Success

"I believe when you really set your mind to do something, you can accomplish anything.”

“I believe when you really set your mind to do something, you can accomplish anything.”

Jason dropped out of high school at a young age. Shortly thereafter, he came to Literacy Council of Tyler to obtain his GED. But the plan failed, and Jason quit the program, saying he felt like it was more important to go out and work.

The years passed and “life happened”. Jason got married and had three children – now 12, 11 and 9. It was his love for his children and desire for their success that made him reevaluate his own life’s goals.

“One of my goals for my children is for them to get an education,” said Jason. “It seemed like if it was important for them, it was a good step for me to get an education as well.”

Jason firmly believes that you can’t motivate someone else to do something that you don’t do yourself.

So, he headed back to LCOT with a new outlook and met a new group of people. For him, the timing was perfect. “I got into the hands of some really caring people and it seemed like the rest is history in the making.”

Jason enrolled in the Innovative Grant program, where he recently received his GED and Medical Administrative Assistant Certificate concurrently. He is now in the Bookkeeping and Business Management Program at Tyler Junior College working on his Associate’s Degree.

“Going back to school has given me a new lease on life,” said Jason. “At one point it seemed like I was going from one dead end job to another dead end job.”

“I had this grandioso idea when I was younger that I’d have my own business and that would be supporting me for the rest of my life. And that did work for me for a while. The more I grew into that the more I realized that an education was mandatory because the world never stays the same. It constantly evolves, and I felt like I needed to evolve with those times to be successful.”

When asked what has surprised Jason about his new academic success, he said that not much has surprised him.

“This success is actually going along with the picture that’s in my mind. I visualized this and what surprised me more than anything is that it seemed like it was effortless. Because I believe when you really set your mind to do something, you can accomplish anything.”

8/7/12 Literacy Council’s 21st Annual Corporate Spelling Bee by Judith Highsmith, Sarah Miller & Sharla Drain

8/7/12 Literacy Council’s 21st Annual Corporate Spelling Bee by Judith Highsmith, Sarah Miller & Sharla Drain

8/7/12 Literacy Council’s 21st Annual Corporate Spelling Bee by Judith Highsmith, Sarah Miller & Sharla Drain

8/7/12 Literacy Council’s 21st Annual Corporate Spelling Bee by Judith Highsmith, Sarah Miller & Sharla Drain

8/7/12 Literacy Council’s 21st Annual Corporate Spelling Bee by Judith Highsmith, Sarah Miller & Sharla Drain