Celebrities Who Have Earned an HSE Diploma

Need to earn your high school equivalency diploma? Join the many celebrities you doubtless know who already have!

Actor Christian Slater is perhaps best known for his role in the 1988 film Heathers. In the YouTube clip below, he shares with Ellen how working from the age of nine prevented him from finishing school, but once he became a father, he wanted to be a good example for his children, so he went back to school and earned his HSE.

Watch from minute 1:48, where he discusses his “why” on Ellen

Jim Carrey dropped out of school at 16 to help support his family when his mother became ill. The Canadian was a straight-A student when he left school to work in a factory, he has shared in interviews. Eventually the star of Ace Ventura Pet Detective, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and many other films made good on his early promise and earned his high school equivalency diploma.

The list continues. Chris Rock, Angelina Jolie, Mark Wahlberg, Charlie Sheen, Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson, Michael J. Fox, and Christina Applegate have also earned their HSE diplomas. D.L. Hughley, Britney Spears, and even Beyoncé are also reported to have received theirs. Rapper Eminem, Pink, Davie Bowie, Jerry Garcia, and Waylon Jennings are even more musicians who have gone back to school.

In addition, Mary Lou Retton, the Olympic gymnast, news anchor Peter Jennings, and Oscar de la Hoya, the famed boxer, are among those who have earned an HSE.

This is only a partial list of celebrities who in some cases took the time to study for their high school equivalency diplomas even after they were well known. If they can do it, so can you!

Contact us today to find out how to begin your journey. Call (260) 330-1461, or email us at 

Learning More at the Learn More Center

When I was eight years old, my brother and I used to play “school.” It wasn’t the most creative game but, being as young as we were, it was difficult to think of elaborate rules and requirements for something so simple. The game went something like this: One person would be the teacher (which I insisted on being, only occasionally allowing my brother the privilege of taking on such a major role), while using a laundry basket as a desk to sit behind and assign lessons to the student (who did not get a desk). The work was about as simple as you would expect it to be, given that an eight-year-old was the one “teaching.” That was it. At the time, it was much more riveting than it sounds, as our eager child spirits found joy in such a simple pleasure. While work was hardly ever done no matter what role in the game you played and, to be honest, the game was often cut short as new ideas, games, or arguments came into play, there was one thing I sure of even at that time: I wanted to be a teacher.

            Flash forward twelve years and here I am, studying English as a senior at Manchester University and working as an ELL (English Language Learner) instructor at the Learn More Center. When I first got the opportunity to intern at LMC, I never expected to see my dreams come to life in the way they have over the past few months. Being only an intern, I expected filing paperwork, taking out the trash, and making copies to fill my days. While I most definitely did all of that, I have also done so much more. I have tutored adults with special needs, worked with students within our correctional facility, connected with people who have gone through more in life than I can begin to explain, and learned more than I think I could even hope to teach. The beauty about LMC, I have learned, is that every person you meet has a story to tell. We do not shy away from hearing their stories, working with each student, and appreciating them no matter what.

            Right now, my main job at LMC is to teach English to speakers of other languages. While our days are spent reviewing the alphabet, discussing parts of speech, or practicing writing paragraphs, we also spend time connecting, sharing stories, and finding common ground. I find that at the end of every day that I work, I go home with a story that I can’t wait to share. I want to tell everyone about the wonderful students I talk to each and every day. I want to discuss the inspiration and strength that exudes from each person who walks through the LMC doors as they tell stories of abuse, neglect, hardship, and anything you can imagine, yet they’re here. I want the world to know that little non-profits like us are not to be dismissed, because there are people working harder than I ever thought possible to achieve things that many others take for granted. The Learn More Center is a place to go when you want your life to change. Whether the role you play there is tutor, student, intern, or guest, you will always be considered family.

Erin Brock
ESL Instructor


A New Lease on Life

     In 1990 I had to drop out of college when I had my first child. I raised five children by myself for seventeen years, working as many as four jobs to make ends meet. Then I married and raised three more for a total of eight kids. When the nest was empty, I settled into one good job that I was sure I could retire at. Then, because of some faulty equipment, I ended up with a disabling neck injury and was put back at square one. I could no longer do any kind of physically demanding work.

     I had sent two of my children through the Learn More Center for their GED years prior, so I contacted Cynthia Johnson to see if they could help me find a new career; I just wasn’t willing to give up. Finances were nonexistent for me; however, she was able to find funding for me to go back to college through the Learn More Center and Freedom Academy.

     I graduated top of my class and passed my test to become a Certified Healthcare Access Associate! Shortly after that, she was able to help me study for and take the test (through Ivy Tech) to receive my Paraprofessional license as well!

    Thanks to the efforts and help of Cynthia and all the volunteers at The Learn More Center, I am now a federal employee with the US Department of Commerce with the 2020 Census, as well as a contractual Medical Office Clerk for the Veterans Administration.

     Two years ago, I felt that my life was essentially over; I was just another disabled person who would end up on public assistance. Little did I know that Cynthia and all the amazing people at The Learn More Center would help me get a new lease on life!

By Tina Marie Mengerink-James

Congratulations, Tina, for not only being inducted into the National Adult Education Honor Society, but also passing her Patient Access exam, and Paraprofessional exam. We are so honored to share in her journeys.

Keep Pushing

Hey y’all! How are y’all doing? Good, I hope! So I don’t have as much room as I’d like to tell you the reason I chose to come back to school, but I think I can cram it in like a good ole can of sardines. Please forgive me, as I forgot to introduce myself to you all. My name is Deanna Lynn Keller. I am 21 years old and I was born and raised in “sweet home Alabama.” This is my story.

     So…I grew up poor with no support or love from family; this caused me to become very independent at a young age. I had no dad, no grandparents, and sadly I had no real mom. I was very self-reliant and hated being home. I hated being at school; I didn’t understand it for the life of me. So I decided to drop out of school at 17. I was a junior in high school. At the time, I was only able to do 9th grade classes. I guess it seemed reasonable at the time, but in reality I wasn’t succeeding.

     I have realized since that had I tried harder, cared more, and applied myself I would have finished high school successfully. A bit of advice—“Patience is a virtue.”  I wish I would have had some then.

     I knew I had to do something. I was feeling really down and discouraged, so I called my sissy. She is a voice of reason and a source of support for me. She suggested that I move to Indiana and start over. First on my list was getting my high school diploma. My sister can be very convincing, and for that I am grateful. Not even two weeks after returning here, I was signed up for classes. Y’all, it was the best decision I ever made!

     In conclusion, it has been nearly 3 months since that first class. I am about to graduate with my High School Equivalency diploma. I owe it all to hard work, Learn More Center support, and my sister. I want YOU to know YOU CAN DO IT, TOO! DON’T EVER GIVE UP! KEEP PUSHING! NO MATTER WHAT!

By Deanna Keller

Wabash County Community Learning Center

If you haven’t heard, June 1st, 2019, Learn More Center moved to the Wabash County Community Learning Center. We now share space with Ivy Tech Wabash, WorkOne and Wabash City Schools Dual Credit program. 

     We are now all settled and students are working hard to see their dreams of obtaining their High School Equivalency Diplomas. Learn More Center is a state approved testing site, with testing happening in both North Manchester and Wabash campuses. You can imagine how convenient that is for our students.

     We offer many services for our students, placement testing, tutoring, life coaching, college preparation, and student development. We pride ourselves on the individual attention we can give our students. They can register knowing that we give them the tools to be successful in their educational goals, including help with transportation! We are able to issue transit passes or gas cards.

     If you are a graduate but need to brush up on your skills or you are a displaced worker, we can help with job skills and some workplace certification programs. 

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about our services.

We look forward to meeting you!

 ~The Learn More Center staff                 

Student Spotlight-Treat You Like Family

Hi, my name is Petrina. I would like to tell you about my success with the Learn More Center. I dropped out of high school when I was 18 years old to care for my sister’s baby. I didn’t have time to care for him full time and go to school so I decided to give up my education because that child needed me. At the age of 23, I decided I was going to get back in school and at least get a HSE. At that time I wasn’t so sure about college. I would think about it as, “Oh great, more school work.” “Something else to dedicate my time to.” I was not very motivated to follow through. 

At the time, the only support system I really had was from the staff at the Learn More Center; which was obviously enough to motivate me into continuing my education. It took me less than a year to receive my HSE. I can honestly tell you if you are considering pursuing your HSE and live around Wabash, I highly recommend you go to the Learn More Center. The staff there are very caring and understanding with any life issues you may be going through. 

I passed my HSE on December 11, 2019. It was a very exciting and rewarding experience. I did not expect to finish with it. However,  the Learn More Center kept me motivated. They kept reminding me it would be worth it. I have never been more excited to say one of my goals have been accomplished! I hope my story motivates all students in the process of and maybe someone thinking about getting your HSE. 

I also wanted to share with you that I’m now enrolled in an online college. I start at Independence University on February 3, 2020. It’s a 3 year course but I will have my Bachelors in Health Service Management; with that being said, I will have my degree by February 15, 2023. This course will allow me to work in any hospital, nursing home, or doctor’s office. I will be in charge of patients’ care plans. Could also be an administrator at a nursing home. Did I have motivation to do it when I first started? Absolutely not! But the Learn More Center helped make it possible. I cannot say enough how thankful I am for them. Without them I would not be where I am today. If you want any information, need help with motivation or just someone to help you get through it, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Not only to the staff at the Learn More Center, but the students there as well. They are awesome people and treat you like family. So don’t be afraid to better your future at the Learn More Center.

Many Happy Returns

     We might say “many happy returns” when we’re wishing someone a happy birthday or a good holiday. But in the world of adult education, we might use the phrase a bit differently.

      Sometimes our “new” students aren’t really so new to us. They have come back after a time away, maybe due to a health crisis, maybe due to work or family obligations, and we’re thrilled to see them again. That is a happy return indeed for our Learn More family!

      I’m (fairly) newly back to LMC myself. I began working at Learn More Center in 2007, eventually opening and running the Wabash location with the invaluable help of Jeanie Allen, instructional assistant extraordinaire.

      In 2014, I left LMC to pursue my writing full time but am now back part time. It was difficult to leave a job I really loved, and clearly I couldn’t stay away. I’m grateful to be back teaching and making a difference every day.

      But just as some of our students might, I know what it’s like coming back to something that is the same yet different. Many things have changed at LMC since I last taught here, from a completely new high school equivalency test (the HSE instead of the GED) to a database I’m having to learn from scratch.

      I find myself asking questions daily, disappointed in myself for the things I don’t know, as if someone could just download them into my mind. Newsflash: that’s not how life works.

      We don’t grow without challenges, and by the end of each workday I find I have learned at least one more thing that will allow me to become a fully informed team member, in time. If you’re someone who is thinking of coming back to school, or someone who is newly back, welcome home. Let’s grow together.

      There will always be new things to learn (or relearn). This is a new year. This is a new decade. Here’s hoping 2020 brings many happy returns for us all.

      Drēma Drudge is the mother of two and wife of one (Barry). She attended Spalding University’s MFA in Creative Writing Program, which resulted in her first novel, Victorine, to be released March 2020. In addition to writing, she enjoys traveling and painting. She’s a believer in lifelong learning.

Graduation to Employment – Congratulations!

We want to send out a big congratulations to Miss Kayla Bradford!!! Kayla is a 2019 Learn More Center graduate who recently secured employment as a teacher for 2 year olds at First Friends Daycare.

     Kayla says she especially enjoys teaching and watching her students’ minds grow each day. She admits it isn’t always easy but it is definitely rewarding! She loves to see their faces every morning, excited to learn something new.

     “A few of my students start each morning off with “What will we learn today, Miss Kay?””

     We are so excited and pleased with Kayla’s success and are very proud to

have highlighted her in our newsletter.

The Power and Courage of “Try.”

Do or do notthere is no try,” says the esteemed Yoda in the Star Wars Saga. While there is honor in fully committing to an endeavor until complete—to go forth with full intent to do—there can sometimes be a lack of appreciation for the “trying.” To do is to try.

At Learn More Center, we embrace the concept of “to try.” There is courage and power in trying. When students try and fail, we are not upset, angry, or disappointed; we are encouraged that learning has begun. Our mistakes, missteps, and failures bring forth the most potent learning experiences. When faced with barriers to learning and/or barriers of life, it takes tremendous courage to continue to try.

While we are thrilled for all our students’ successes, those who achieve their goals in “lightning- quick” time or those who are with us for a few weeks or months—they are all celebrated. However, there is a special place in our hearts for those who continue to try after multiple attempts. Those students who see their fellow students achieve goals quickly and move on, but yet stay and try until they, too, reach their goals display true courage. To journey alongside those students and see their successes after months or years of work is truly a special time of rejoicing.

Sometimes trying isn’t enough. Sickness, homelessness, addictions, and life get in the way of learning.  Some students have to step out of class, regroup, and decide to return later. There is another type of courage for those who return. They regather their resources, face the barriers, and come back to try again. We love to see our students return to their goals. No matter how many times it takes. 

I encourage you to continue to try. To resolve, to set those goals, and try. Keep those New Year’s Resolutions, your life’s goals, and go forth and TRY!


Cynthia Johnson

Director of Education

In Celebration of Black History Month

What happens when you put off a dream or goal? Here’s one poet’s thoughts.

Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore–
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

No need to see that happen to your dream…just go for it! If you’re interested in earning your high school equivalency (HSE) diploma, or in adult basic education, college prep, career readiness, English as a second language, or becoming a U.S. citizen, your dream doesn’t have to be delayed. Contact us TODAY: 260-330-2486, or email us at:

To learn more about the poet Langston Hughes, go here:

North Manchester
Town Life Center

603 Bond Street
North Manchester, IN 46962
Phone: (260) 330-1461
HSE Exam scheduling:
(260) 330-3553

Monday: 9am-7pm
Wednesday: 9am-7pm

Wabash County Community Learning Center

277 North Thorne Street
Wabash, IN 46992
Phone: (260) 330-1082

Tuesday: 9am-6pm
Thursday: 9am-3pm



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