Will LaRue, right, with Collegiate High School tutor Jesha Roady

For any student, walking across the stage to receive a diploma is a milestone. For William LaRue, 37, it was a triumph.

The moment marked the culmination of three years of dedication.

“When I was a junior in high school, I had a mental health episode and it put me in a bad place,” said LaRue.

Afterward, he didn’t return to high school.

Encouraged by his pastor to return to school in 2013, he started taking GED classes at College of the Mainland.

“This place has an open environment,” said LaRue.

LaRue, of Texas City, completed three College Success Academies, which prepare students to excel in college through classes, tests and coaching. He also frequently attends additional tutoring sessions.  

“He was here every Friday. I would always hear him explain things to other students,” said tutor and COM Collegiate High School student Jesha Roady.

A self-described storyteller, LaRue wants to earn a degree possibly in writing or a related field.

“It’s been a rough road and I’ve come far. Roger Mora [COM adult education career navigator] has helped me through time and time again,” said LaRue.

LaRue has completed a college drafting course and passed it. His courage has motivated other students.

“Even though he has a disability and he could request more time on tests, he didn’t. He wanted to do it on his own. He didn’t want any special treatment,” said Mora. “Another student with a disability saw that and decide he could do it on his own too.”

LaRue looks forward to his next accomplishment.

“In life everything’s not going to be handed to you. I deal with my condition and still try to live a normal life. You have to work and you can’t use your disability as a crutch,” said LaRue. “It’s hard to explain how far I’ve come. It made me feel really good to become a grad.”

For more information on GED classes at locations across Galveston County, visit www.com.edu/adulted or call 409-933-8294.