Greg Colburn

Student conquers math, earns high school diploma after 20 years

For two decades one missing class – math – kept Greg Colburn from receiving his high school diploma.

After a frustrating algebra class experience in high school, he decided math was not for him.
 
“I had that block,” Colburn, of La Marque, said. “I stopped going to math class.”
 
He instead earned his GED and began a series of jobs in sales.
 
But he always wanted to finish.
 
In 2012 he came to College of the Mainland and began the developmental math class that placement testing showed he needed before taking college algebra.
 
After 21 years out of school, he found that solving equations posed a challenge.
 
“I struggled before the midterm. I had a low C,” remembered Colburn.
 
Through the help of Math Lab tutors, supplemental instruction sessions and instructor Tami Allison, he began to see a change.
 
“All of a sudden everything fell into place,” he said. “(Tami Allison) was fantastic. She said not to give up and not give in to negative talk. What Ms. Allison had to say unlocked (my) stubbornness.”
 
He brought his grade up to a B – and even better was able to pass the math exam to earn his high school diploma.
 
“He was very dedicated,” said Allison. “I have a lot of respect for him. A lot of people would have said it’s not important. He was determined to get his diploma.”
 
Now armed with a diploma from Stratford High School in Houston, he is pursuing an associate degree in occupational safety and health technology at COM.
 
 “(Allison) was very instrumental in me getting my diploma,“ said Colburn. “We’re fortunate here at College of the Mainland to have good teachers. A good teacher can just change your life.”