Deaf mother defies odds to achieve high school diploma - Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

Deaf mother defies odds to achieve high school diploma

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Anita Jackson had tried for years to get her GED.

At 36 years old, a single mother and deaf, Jackson had pretty much given up on the hope of ever reaching that milestone.

Then Basix Knowledge Academy, a private academy in DeKalb County, offered her a chance to earn, not her GED, but a real high school diploma.

When Jackson enrolled she not only made school history, she took a giant step toward improving her future.

Starting off was exciting for both Jackson and the school. The private academy had never enrolled a deaf student before. 

“I was excited. This was a new avenue that I'm venturing into that would actually be a learning experience for me as well,” said Curriculum Team Coordinator Andrea Pendergraph.

For the next six months, Jackson and Pendergraph would be inseparable. With the help of an interpreter and lots of note-passing, the two learned to communicate with and understand each other.

Head Master David Price said for nearly 20 years, Basix has been the education haven for young students and older adults who never quite fit into a traditional school setting. Price felt that Jackson would be a great fit in the academy.

“Anita came to us in 12th grade, one year left to finish. She didn’t want a GED, she wanted a high school diploma,” said Price. “I realized somewhere within the structure of the school, I would be able to fit her in.”

After six months of hard work Jackson passed her last final exam to officially become a high school graduate.

“Whoa! just like that, in six months, I'm finished. I worked hard, studied hard, and I succeeded and that helped me, bettered me and improved my life,” said Jackson.

Jackson said she is happy, not just to be a part of the school's history, but to be a source of inspiration for future students.
“It doesn't matter, whatever your age, go ahead, this school is an awesome opportunity, open to all deafs, you can do it!” said Jackson.
Jackson’s next plan is to enroll in college and study toward becoming a veterinarian.

For more information on Basix Knowledge Academy go to or call (404) 289-8105.

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