The third time’s the charm


For 23 years, Mike Bauer had a dream to become a high school graduate. And because of his classes at Neighborhood House, he’s on his way.

Mike said that he had a difficulty in school for years because of his learning disability, causing him to stop short of graduating. He said he struggled with the coursework, and was relentlessly teased by the other students; something that affected him greatly. “People made fun of me because of my learning disability, and that’s never left me. But I was also determined to not let it hold me down,” he said. “I really did want a diploma to show people that I finished my high school education. It’s something that’s really important to me—something that I can be proud of.”

When he began coming to classes at Neighborhood House, he recalled some advice that a teacher gave him years back. The teacher told him that when he’s learning, to stop, pause and to slow down. “I say this to myself often…Stop. Pause. Slow down. It helps to remember this, because I know that it takes me a little bit longer to understand some concepts that I’m learning,” Mike said. “I’m not ashamed of that anymore. The teachers here and the other students accept me as a human, not just a person with a disability.”

Being accepted in a supportive environment has made all the difference for him—Mike recently passed the science section of the GED exams. “When I passed, it felt so awesome! It meant I had done a good job—no, a great job!” he said proudly.