On The Journey – Antoinette Ealy
Antoinette Ealy offers a simple three words of advice; “Stay in school,” to anyone who may be thinking otherwise. She is the head of the Mercy Neighborhood Ministries of Philadelphia kitchen staff and a participant in our organization’s Adult Education program.
Antoinette left Murrell Dobbins CTE during her junior year of high school primarily as the result of peer pressure.
“I was tired of the only person staying in school,” she says. “All of my friends left and they teased me.”
She has spent the past 15 years in the food service industry and has been working toward her GED for the last six.
“The Sisters have kept me engaged and motivated to finish,” Antoinette says. Other programs were often crowded, much like her classrooms and Dobbins, where should could not receive the individual attention she wanted as a learner.
There are four tests students must complete to achieve their GED. After missing the mark by just one point, Antoinette retook and successfully completed her third test in the beginning of 2016. Aside from work and school, Antoinette also juggles the daily lives of her daughters ages 15, 13, and 7.
“I tell my kids every day not to follow in my footsteps. What they put on these tests is harder than what we did in high school. My girls are learning so much in school. I’m doing homework now and they’re helping me.”
Upon completion of her GED, Antoinette plans to attend the Community College of Philadelphia and focus on accounting, which was something she enjoyed high school, especially when learning how to do her teacher’s taxes.
Antoinette is a well-respected member of the Mercy community and has the pleasure of interacting with the students, seniors, parents, and staff every day.
“I’m the goofball,” she says with a laugh. “If I see someone here down or having a bad day, I always try to cheer them up.”
Reflecting on her path to success and what she would have done differently, she tells her children, “Be the leader. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do and do what you know is right.” As for the completion of the GED program, Antoinette says, “I can’t wait to finish so I can move on to the next step.”
The Mercy family will be cheering her on when she crosses the finish line.