By Robert W. Dalton

Kasi Mauney thought she was done with school in 2015.

When Mauney was told she would have to repeat her senior year of high school, she walked away.

“I didn’t take it very well when they told me I was being retained,” says Mauney. “I said I’d rather sign the drop-out papers than be retained for a full year.”

Mauney’s sister, Brandi Wylie ’24, opened the door for her to finish her education. Wylie, an English major from Spartanburg, South Carolina, began volunteering at the Adult Learning Center as a Bonner Scholar in January 2021 and convinced Mauney to pursue her GED.

“After I started, I told her about it and what a good program it is,” says Wylie. “I found out that due to COVID-19, they had a grant that made it free, and that made it more appealing. She enrolled and didn’t think much of it at first, but with a lot of pushing from all different sides was able to finish.”

Mauney didn’t just finish, she excelled. She completed all of her tests in about five months and had the highest score in her graduating class (2021). She and other graduates from the past three years were recognized on June 30, during the ALC’s first graduation ceremony since 2019 due to the pandemic.

Bill Brasington ’89, who has been director of the ALC since 2000, says the situation with the sisters was unique.

“We’ve had family members come in together and participate,” Brasington says. “But I can’t recall another time a volunteer went out and got a family member and they finished their GED because of that.”

Wylie encouraged her sister and kept her on track to take her tests. They also studied together at times.

“Being able to help her through that was really special,” Wylie says.

Mauney works at a big-box retailer. She and her husband, David, have two children. Mauney now plans to apply to colleges and earn a degree in accounting.

“I’d been wanting to get my GED for a while,” Mauney says. “This helps with a lot of things, like job opportunities and bettering myself in a lot of different ways.”

Brasington says that’s true for all of the ALC’s graduates.

“Frankly, this can change their family tree,” Brasington says. “They can go on to higher education, and they have choices about the work they do as opposed to only being able to do certain jobs. The sky is the limit.”