From the beginning, school wasn’t exactly the place that Nate wanted to be. He advanced to the next grade, not by doing well in school, but by misbehaving.
“School was pretty much a bust for me," Nate explains. "Teachers would pass me just to get rid of me. It was a good set-up. I kept acting up....and teachers kept passing me.”
Nate was frustrated and felt like he was just wasting time. So, he dropped out. He started working at the age of 14, taking mostly low-paying laborer positions where literacy skills and a diploma didn’t matter.
When Nate was in his 20’s, he realized that he couldn’t live the life he wanted without finishing his education. He enrolled at Literacy Pittsburgh and was matched with his first tutor. He had to start from the very beginning, first learning to sound out words. Nate knew that this would not be easy, and he would have to stay focused and work hard. “My tutor was actually interested in me and where I wanted to go in life.” Having his tutor’s undivided attention and knowing that she cared inspired him to keep moving forward.
Although it was a long road to travel, Nate was eventually able to transition into a high school equivalency preparation class offered by Literacy Pittsburgh at its Downtown Center. Just before his 29th birthday, Nate passed the GED exam and earned his high school equivalency diploma.
“Everything I do, from math to writing essays, came from the background I got at Literacy Pittsburgh.”
In May 2015, Nate graduated from Community College of Allegheny County with a degree in business administration. He earned his bachelor's degree in 2018 from Carlow University.
"My next step is to get my master’s degree in social work. I want to start my own program so I can help people who are in tough situations. I want to be able to give back in honor of the people who helped me," Nate says.
Literacy Pittsburgh (formerly Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council) helps create better lives through learning. Recognized as a national leader in adult and family literacy, Literacy Pittsburgh is the largest provider of adult basic education in Allegheny and Beaver Counties. Last year, Literacy Pittsburgh helped more than 4,600 individuals acquire reading, writing, math, English language, computer and workforce skills so they may reach their fullest potential in life and participate productively in their communities. Literacy Pittsburgh provides free, personalized instruction in workforce readiness, high school diploma test preparation, English as a second language, basic skills, and family literacy through one-to-one and small class instruction, along with referrals to other family support organizations. Founded in 1982, it serves local adults through numerous neighborhood locations and its Downtown Pittsburgh Learning Center.