Evett moved from Jamaica to the U.S. in 2015 to join her eldest daughter and grandson. After raising five children for decades, being in an empty house felt lonely. She wanted to reunite with her family. When Evett stepped through the airport doors in Washington, D.C., she thought, “This is it. My life can finally change.” She admitted that coming to the U.S. was like a dream come true.
Evett had her first daughter at age 15. Because of the pregnancy Evett had to leave school and fend for herself. By age 29 Evett was a single mother of five. Her life revolved around her children, and she vowed not to let them go through the struggles she went through; she would always support them.
Evett was in the U.S. for a year caring for her grandson before she decided to go back to school. Forty-one years after being forced to leave her education behind, at age 55 Evett enrolled in the GED program at the Carlos Rosario School. She was determined to earn her high school diploma. As a book lover, Evett passed the reading section of the GED official exam pretty quickly. But it was language arts and math that were the most challenging.
For more than two years Evett would study for the GED in the mornings, look after her daughter’s house in the afternoon, and work a retail job in the evenings. During this time, it was difficult for Evett to find time to study as she juggled her many other responsibilities. But she said there were so many people counting on her, she couldn’t disappoint.
The night before her fourth attempt at passing the GED math test, she dreamt about it. In her dream she was sitting in class when Carlos Rosario School math specialist volunteer Jane arrived. When Jane opened the door and said hi, Evett responded, “Oh Jane, I’m so sorry to disappoint you.” She was distraught over having to tell her she had failed again. But in this case the dream didn’t come true. Evett passed the math test and after two years and seven days she’d earned her GED.
She felt as if a load was lifted off her shoulders. “I was free. I could finally breathe,” she said.
This hard-working grandma has big dreams for the future. She plans to enroll in the University of the District of Columbia in the fall. She wants to get her CDA license and then to study child development. She has her sights on opening a childcare center. With her experience raising five children and five grandchildren, it seems like a predestined path.
Thinking about her 40 plus year journey back to school, Evett said, “I’m very proud of myself. I didn’t know that after 40 years out of school I would be able to do it. But I did it. My kids are proud of me and I’m proud that I made them proud.”