A Family’s Journey at CVCC
PHENIX CITY, AL— As a junior in high school, John Newman was failing his classes. He had struggled throughout his K-12 education and made the decision to drop out of school. Soon after leaving high school, he enrolled in the GED program at Chattahoochee Valley Community College (CVCC), and his outlook on life and his future changed for the better.
“I used to feel like I couldn’t do it, and failure was my only option,” said Newman. “After high school, I felt like I wasn’t going to get a job or have anything, because I’m a dropout. Then, once I heard about the GED program, I thought, ‘that might be good for me.’ Now that I’m doing a little bit at a time, I can focus and not get bored, and it’s a lot easier for me to learn.”
At an early age, Newman was diagnosed with narcolepsy, a condition that causes abnormal sleep-wake cycles. The GED classes were a good fit for Newman, and he’s been able to take his medicine properly to manage his condition.
”When we started looking at the possibility of him getting his GED, it put a change in him,” said Newman’s father, Eddie Fugate. “He knew he wouldn’t be stuck at a desk for eight hours and could work at his own pace. He’s a very intelligent young man; we’ve always known if he sets his mind to something, he can do it.”
”When we were younger, people made fun of him,” said his brother, Joseph (Joey) Fugate. “As I got older, I began to understand that I needed to let him know that he has my support 100 percent. At his GED graduation, we were all cheering for him. I think we were the loudest ones there.”
Newman was able to transition right into CVCC’s Welding program and has been enrolled since the fall of 2018. Attending CVCC is a family affair for Newman, his father, and his brother. In the process of seeing his son pursue his GED, Fugate, began taking classes at the College to work toward becoming a math teacher. His other son, Joey, was already attending the College to pursue a fire science degree. Fugate says his children inspire him in many ways, and CVCC was the perfect place for them all.
“I was definitely afraid of going back to school, because it has been so long since I last attended,” he said. “I had spent the last 20 plus years in the military, and I wanted to transition into another career. One of the big reasons I chose CV is because I wanted to go small, get my feet wet again, and get back into a rhythm.”
Fugate will transfer to Auburn University in the fall of 2019 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in education. He says he couldn’t be more proud of his family, and the icing on the cake is that his daughter, Shelby, will take dual enrollment classes at CVCC this fall.
“We’re all on different paths in life, yet we are able to lay a foundation of success at Chattahoochee Valley Community College. You just can’t beat that.”