Second Chances Video

The first program in the series introduces the scope and huge personal and societal costs of adults not having a high school diploma or equivalency. National experts describe the economic strain on America, and educators and former dropouts provide additional context to two expanded stories of individual achievement:

Kellie Blair Hardt is a special education teacher at Rippon Middle School in Woodbridge, Virginia (Prince William County). She was often homeless as a child and faced personal and educational challenges, finally getting back on track through Harpers Ferry Job Corps. In 2013, she was one of five teachers nationwide to receive the National Education Association’s Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence and is pursuing a Ph.D. in education. She uses her own story to inspire her students.

Hasan Davis is a youth advocate and former Kentucky Commissioner of Juvenile Justice. He faced many challenges while still young: family crises, learning disabilities, a pre-teen arrest, and multiple expulsions. His mother enrolled him in Horizons School, an alternative school in Atlanta that still operates. Although he was ultimately expelled, the principal’s and his mother’s faith in him led him to be persistent. He got a GED® certificate, enrolled at Berea College in Kentucky and went on to get a law degree at the University of Kentucky. He uses his story not only to help young people but to encourage others not to make assumptions or close people out of opportunities.

Also appearing in Second Chances:

  • Linda Hunter, GED® student, and Lecester Johnson, executive director of Academy of Hope, a community-based organization in Washington, D.C.
  • Ebony Nava, GED® graduate and community college student at Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Lexington, Kentucky
  • Victor Rios, former dropout and gang member, currently a Professor of Sociology at University of California Santa Barbara, author of Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys
  • Tricia Amos, GED® graduate and student at Enemy Swim Day School in Peever, South Dakota
  • Chase Henderson, GED® graduate and adult education tutor at Delgado Community College, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Ronald Ferguson, professor in the Graduate School of Education, Harvard University and co-director of Harvard’s Achievement Gap Initiative
  • Stephen Rose, economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, Washington, D.C.
  • Greg Mathis, GED® graduate and former district court judge in Detroit, Michigan; star of syndicated TV program Judge Mathistaped in Chicago, Illinois
  • Josh Wyner, Executive Director, Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, Washington, DC
    Russell Rumberger, professor of education, University of California Santa Barbara and author of Dropping Out: Why Students Drop Out of High School and What Can Be Done About It
  • Kavitha Cardoza, special correspondent, WAMU, American University Radio, Washington, D.C., who researched and created an award-winning series on dropouts in the Washington area
  • Tony Mitchell, GED® graduate and resident at North Lawndale Adult Transition Center, Chicago, Illinois, a work/release program for convicts operated by the Safer Foundation
  • Eva Holt, GED® graduate, Mercer County, Kentucky
  • Amy Matthews, co-director, Mercer County Adult Education, Harrodsburg, Kentucky
  • James Hooten, GED® graduate, graduate of the YouthBuild program, Louisville, KY (YouthBuild is a national program with several hundred locations across the nation), and owner of Hooten Home Services, Louisville, Kentucky

Fast Forward: College and Career Ready

The path to success in gaining a GED® and career readiness can be found in Fast Forward: College and Career Ready — an innovative, highly effective, multi-platform learning system created by KET (Kentucky Educational Television.)

The Fast Forward learning system helps students get ahead with in-depth online courses in language arts, math, science, and social studies, as well as professional development resources for adult educators.

Learn more at

For more information about community engagement resources, contact:

We welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions.


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