Emily Ross of Akron is a single mom raising four kids. Today, she’s among the first class to graduate and earn her GED through the LeBron James Family Foundation.
A group of eight parents will be attending a graduation ceremony tonight to mark their accomplishment after completing the foundation’s I PROMISE Too program in partnership with Project Learn of Summit County.
It's been a difficult journey for Ross, 38, of Akron.
“I struggled a lot in high school. I got behind.”
Ross tried once before to earn her GED, but this time was a little different.
“The difference this time was I had four little girls looking at me, looking up to me. Knowing that they were watching me is what made it impossible to fail.”
Ross will be graduating with seven other parents who have successfully earned their GED at no cost with the help of LJFF.
“We didn’t have a lot of extra money. College was never even an option for me until now.”
Ross and several other parents attended regular GED and career preparatory classes three days a week and passed the four required GED tests in Math, Science, Social Studies and Reasoning through Language Arts to earn their diplomas.
It’s a powerful lesson for Ross’ daughters, including Morgan who is entering 5th grade as a I PROMISE student with the foundation. It’s strengthened the bond between mother and her daughter, built around support.
“There’s been times when I got to the point with my math that I didn’t understand and [my kids] helped me.
The possibilities remain endless for Ross who hopes to look into a career working with animals. A dream she says was made possible by LeBron James and the foundation’s vision to strengthen families.
“When they say we are family, they mean it and it shows.”
The first class of graduates, wearing their cap and gowns, attended a special gradation dinner at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn Wednesday night. The foundation’s partner, Chase, announced it has committed to providing each graduate with a mentor to help to navigate them into their new career pathway.
The graduates will also recieve a personalized LJFF-sponsored shopping day for business attire and accessories.
“I’m so proud of every single one of these parents for showing their kids, and themselves, that you can do anything you commit yourself to,” said LeBron James in a news release. “As a parent, all the hard work and sacrifices they made to take classes and study for tests while still working full time jobs and raising their families is inspiring. I know this incredible accomplishment will open a lot of doors for them and their families.”
Ross hopes her story to obtain her GED later in life will inspire others to do the same.
“It’s never too late, never too late to take the wheel and take a hold of your future.”