Bourgeois has been blind since birth and currently volunteers in the library at Alabama School for the Blind.
Before volunteering at ASB, she was employed at Alabama Industries for the Blind for about 15 years where she worked at several stations and ran the sewing machine and put ink pens together.
But Bourgeois knew she wanted more. She wanted to earn her high school diploma.
After many years of courses from Hadley, Bourgeois has finally accomplished a major milestone in her life.
“It felt great,” Bourgeois said. “I was glad to get it.”
Bourgeois was recognized for her accomplishment at the semi-annual meeting of the Hadley Board of Trustees on Thursday, June 7.
Since the 1930s, The Hadley School for the Blind has offered a nationally-recognized accredited high school program to students with visual impairments ages 14 and up in the United States.
“I quit ASB and went through Hadley,” Bourgeois said. “I had to start from scratch.”
Bourgeois struggled while at ASB and often felt that instruction was too fast-paced for her to keep up. As an adult, she heard about Hadley through a friend and decided to enroll in order to earn a diploma.
“You work at your own pace and they send you materials,” Bourgeois said.
For Bourgeois, starting from scratch meant going through all eight grades required to get her diploma and receiving course materials in Braille through Hadley.
Her favorite course was “Personal Psychology” where she learned about human and animal behavior.
“I learned about the mind and how it works, why it does what it does,” Bourgeois said.
“I was always interested in the body and mind. It’s amazing how God created us to do what we do and how the brain does what it does.”
She is also an avid reader who enjoys Christian books and novels from author James Patterson.
Bourgeois believes that it is never too late to achieve your dreams, and wants those who are thinking about going back to school to get their diploma or degree to simply just, “go and get it.”
“It’s a long hard road but go and get it,” Bourgeois said. “It lifts your self-esteem. You’ll feel better about yourself.”
Even in these hard economic times, Bourgeois says that a high school diploma is better than nothing at all.
“There’s no way you can get a job of any kind without a high school diploma,” Bourgeois said.
“The economy is so bad you might not get a job anyway but it’s nice to have it. At least with a high school diploma you can work a part-time job.
“I don’t know yet what I’m going to do because a lot of people go on to college to get degrees and there are no jobs for them.”
Bourgeois said that she is not sure if she will continue her education, but in the meantime she will continue volunteering at the library and will probably take a few more courses at Hadley.
Contact Aziza Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.