Local woman completing her GED at JWCC, "It's never too late"

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A Tri-State woman goes back to school to set a good example for her daughter.

Melissa Baum dropped out of high school during her sophomore year.

After almost two decades without a high school diploma, Baum decided enough was enough.

"I'm tired of working dead-end jobs and so you need to have some type of high school diploma or a GED to have a career."

Melissa Baum is working on her GED at John Wood Community College.

Baum says she let negative influences get to the best of her when she was a high school sophomore.

"Friends, parties, I was just ready to run wild and do those things instead of doing what I was supposed to be doing."

Baum's young daughter inspired her to get her GED.

"She is going into first grade this year and so I keep telling her you need to go to school. Pushing her. You've got to go to school and how can I do that for her and tell her that if I didn't do it for myself. And I'm ready! I'm was time."

But Baum's plans don't end with a diploma.

"I love helping people. I love meeting new people. I'm a very social butterfly I guess you could say."

She wants to become a Deputy Sheriff.

"I am it's never too late."

Baum says she hopes her story inspires others to get back into the classroom.

"You never want to give up and if you want something in life just push as hard as you can to achieve that goal. It's worth it."

If you're interested in learning more about getting your GED, you can contact Emily Dozier at 217-641-4951 or

There will also be two info sessions. One on Friday at JWCC from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and on Monday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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