Getting past the GED test might lead to your childhood dream—even if it’s to become a mortician. So the story goes for Jacqueline, a 2018 GED graduate at Jacksonville Public Library, who dreamed of becoming a mortician. Despite receiving a certificate of completion from high school, Jacqueline, who’s enrolled in Florida State College at Jacksonville’s mortuary science program, realized she’d need more than that to pursue the career she envisioned.
“I never finished high school,” said Jacqueline. “I made it to the 12th grade but did not graduate. I received a certificate of completion from Mandarin High School. When I heard the library was offering GED classes, I decided to sign up. I wanted to prove to myself that obtaining my high school diploma was possible.”
If mortuary science seems like an unlikely choice for most people, Jacqueline says it is a good fit for her, and something she’s wanted to do for a long time—ever since the idea was ingrained in grade school.
“I remember reading the The Giver by Lois Lowery in the sixth grade at Blair Middle School. Since the novel was surrounded by death, my teacher arranged for a guest speaker and staff from Riddick’s Funeral Home to speak to our class held in the school library.
“The funeral home staff performed a wide variety of duties such as planning, allocating the resources of the funeral home, managing staff, and handling marketing and public relations. Riddick’s staff brought a white casket on wheels into the library, and parked a white hearse outside the school. The students could get in the casket or the hearse; it was their choice. I chose to get into the back of the white hearse; it was so big and spacious, more than what I originally thought when seeing caskets being hauled inside.
“Then the question was asked, ‘Who wants to become a mortician?’ I was the only student in the library to raise my hand. I heard the whispers from my fellow peers ‘oh she's weird,’ and ‘that's morbid’ and such. I didn't care what they said or the looks I received.
“My dreams from a little girl in the sixth grade of becoming a mortician are now becoming reality. I will be able to comfort families with their loved ones transitioning, and assure they will be well taken care of, even in death,” she said.
Jacqueline moved through the GED program in just four months, and offered advice to those thinking about taking the test: “If you’re serious about taking the GED test to take the test and go for your dreams, do not let fear, or having children, and nay-sayers stop you from pursuing your high school diploma.”