Ivy’s journey: MCC adult ed helps young adult navigate through school.

November 17, 2014
Ivy Johnson

Ivy Johnson

Survivor Story.

Sponsored by All Access Care of Ludington. Located at 329 N. Jebavy Dr. in Ludington; 231-425-4544; www.all-access-care.com.

By Kate Krieger. Senior Correspondent.

SCOTTVILLE – High school can be a difficult time for many students, especially after returning from being gone for a period of time. Ludington resident, Ivy Johnson, 22, had an even harder time returning to high school because she had never really been there before in the first place.

Being home-schooled until the age of 15, Ivy had never attended a traditional public school settin. When life got in the way of her learning, she took some time off and quit school before returning to attend adult education classes at Mason County Central High School.

“I was home-schooled from kindergarten to around 10th grade,” she said. “It was very hard to be social. I was in 4-H and I went to church, so those were really the only ways to meet people. It was hard.”

Ivy decided to stop home school at the age of 15 and started to work full time. She worked three different jobs to remain busy. She worked at a local hotel, a café and at a daycare.

“I had some stuff come up in my life,” she said. “It was just too much, so I stopped going to school and started working.”

She moved out of her parent’s home, got into a relationship and then ended the relationship and finally decided to move back into her parent’s house for many different reasons.

After being absent from school for a while, Ivy decided that she needed to make some changes in her life. She enrolled in adult education in January of this year.

“I wasn’t getting anywhere,” she said. “I was really scared because I had never been in a public school before.”

Ivy said that her life management teacher, Denise Jones, really helped her find her way during the beginning of a very scary situation.

“This was my first time in a school and I saw Denise,” she said. “She’s an amazing woman. She helped me in so many ways. I’ve come so far, at first I was scared to talk or ask questions.”

Ivy said that her entire first day made her so anxious that she threw up when she got home, but she knew it was the right choice and she never looked back.

“Each day got less scary,” she said. “It was helpful having my friend, Aiden in class because I actually knew him. I made a lot of friends and everyone is so nice. I try to motivate them and they motivate me.”

Liz Stark, Mason County Central’s director of adult education has been there through Ivy’s educational journey so far and stated that she has come a long way from when she first enrolled.

“Ivy came to us without any credits for high school,” she said. “She had been homeschooled and did not have the records to prove her classes. She is working very hard to fill in her skills gaps to complete the GED (general education diploma). Her sister is also coming to us now. Ivy is a determined and excellent student.”

Calling the adult education program a “huge confidence boost,” Ivy said that going to school is a breath of fresh air, where everyone is open and accepting to everyone else’s past and they don’t pass judgment.

all_access_sponsorship_100114“I have come to like who I am,” Ivy said. “I was sick a lot as a kid. I had bad asthma and had to wear a mask. Kids were really mean to me.”

With a newfound love for learning, Ivy enjoys coming to school and she has already earned six credits and she needs 19 to graduate. She intends to graduate next December and then she plans on attending college to get a degree in early childhood development, so she can become a preschool teacher. She credits her teachers and classmates for much of her change and motivation to grow as a person.

“The teachers are so different here,” she said. “They actually sit down with you and they care about all of us and where we are at. It’s nice to see they care about the program.”

Even though she had to start high school over, Ivy remains upbeat and has high spirits about her future.

“It still can be scary,” she said. “I’m doing work I’ve never done before, but I’m so much better now and I speak my mind.”