A Next Door Adult Education Success!

When LaParis Mondy-Walton discovered Next Door’s adult education department, she found the catalyst she needed to get her life back on track.

“I would say Next Door prepared me for life. It helped me cope in life. It helped me to get back out into the real world,” LaParis said.

LaParis came to Next Door in 2016 – about a decade after dropping out of high school to care for her ailing mother and to support her brothers.

Her goal was to earn her high school diploma through the state’s HSED program. Next Door’s adult education department offers academic preparation and life skills development for that program, and LaParis took full advantage of the support.

“I would come every day – Monday through Thursday. Sometimes I would be here from 7:30 in the morning until one in the afternoon,” she recalled.

LaParis worked closely with Next Door adult education instructors and volunteer tutors on math, reading and language arts.

She had a lot on her plate – juggling her school work with a full-time job, pregnancy and a Lupus diagnosis.

“LaParis persevered despite the many personal and academic obstacles she faced. We admired her for balancing all of this throughout her training here,” said Instructor Peter Kafkas.

LaParis credits Peter for his dogged determination to keep her on track. She also worked with Kaitlin Koepke who she described as a “wonderful influencer” and a “great motivator.” She is pictured below with both instructors.

In 2018, LaParis completed the HSED course and received her high school diploma. She next enrolled at Milwaukee Area Technical College where she is currently in the Cosmetologist Apprenticeship Program. She chose this field because of the positive ways it makes people feel.

“That’s my thing – I like to make people feel good about themselves. That touches me and makes me feel good about myself,” LaParis said.

Her goal is to become a salon owner and teach in the field. Peter anticipates she’ll do well.

“I have little doubt that she will fulfill whatever she sets out to do,” Peter said.

LaParis still keeps in touch with her Next Door instructors today. She has come by for help on college assignments and requested letters of recommendation which they wrote for her. Their impact on her shines through her zest for life and soaring confidence.

“Now I’m like – ‘this is your life, you’re either going to waste it or you’re going to use it. So right now, I’m utilizing every moment to make it better for me and my family,’” LaParis said.