Read the excerpt featuring Comfort from The Philadelphia Inquirer below.
The Commencement: Be inspired by these 2020 graduates from the Philadelphia region
The UPSIDE, The Philadelphia Inquirer
by Ronnie Polaneczky, June 7, 2020
The pandemic might have stolen the chance for thousands of graduates to cross a public stage in acceptance of the degrees, diplomas, or certificates they worked so hard to receive. But the virus can’t tamp down their accomplishments. Meet 11 Philly-area grads whose inspiring tales of achievement do our region proud.
Comfort Melibe, 42, Southwest Philadelphia
Community Learning Center
In my native country of Nigeria, I took my education very seriously. After high school, I enrolled in the Teacher’s College of Education, which led to a 12-year career teaching elementary school. But my husband and I were worried about the country’s civil unrest, so we moved with our four children to the United States.
None of my credentials translated to the American education system, so I was unable to gain employment. I pursued my GED, hoping it would jump-start my career. My first adult education class was too expensive; the next program was free but lacked structure and personal attention. Then I found Community Learning Center, and things started to change. My teachers got to know me. They learned my strengths and weaknesses and put together a plan for me. With newfound confidence, I tackled the GED test but still faced numerous financial and personal challenges, including a high-risk pregnancy and nursing my infirm mother.
With the encouragement of my daughters, I pushed through with perseverance and focus. I am now a high school graduate and working to find a job. My children are so happy for me. So many people helped me. I could not have done it on my own.