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Keith MeadeRCC helped Keith Meade fulfill his dream

Keith Meade reached a longtime goal recently when he passed the last of four tests — this one in math — to earn a General Equivalency Development certificate.

“Completing the GED® gives me a sense of accomplishment because it’s something I’ve strived to do for so long,” said Meade, who took GED® completion classes at Rogue Community College. “It shows me I can succeed in school. I’ve succeeded in other areas of life, but school’s been hard.”

Meade, who passed his last GED® test in December, was selected to speak at RCC’s GED® graduation, set for 11 a.m. June 14 in Grants Pass.

Meade began taking RCC classes in 2011after moving to Oregon to accept a job offer. Eager to get started and scared at the same time, “I wanted to drop out, but teachers believed in me and talked with me to keep me coming,” he recalled.

“If RCC didn’t have evening classes,” he added. “I wouldn’t have been able to complete my GED®.” Meade, who works for a home remodeling and construction company in Medford, said he learned useful math skills by completing the GED®.

“My life has changed, and it’s because this college has helped me fulfill my dreams,” he said.

Meade is no stranger to hard work or challenges. As one of nine children raised by his grandmother in Phoenix, Ariz., school was always a struggle for him. His mother left when he was 1, and he didn’t see her again for 17 years. He began working at age 10 when his grandmother told him he had to get a job.

Hardly anyone in his family finished school, so Meade is “breaking a generational curse,” he said. When high school ended after his sophomore year, he had only a third-grade reading level.

“I was just another person to get passed through the system,” he explained. Meade learned to compensate, however. He’s owned a landscaping business and worked for a Detroit inner city church doing youth ministry, bus and building maintenance. He’s also done sales, carpet installation, built movie sets, and installed high-end audio and video systems for resorts and arenas.

If he can swing it financially, Meade would like to continue his education at RCC.

“There’s something about the atmosphere of RCC where everyone is willing to go above and beyond to help students, and that builds a very big welcoming atmosphere,” he said. “It’s rewarding to be able to come to a place like that and be surrounded by people who help you fulfill your dreams.”

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