It is their determination to succeed which makes their triumphs all the more inspiring.
Claudius (Claude) Anderson, a recent graduate of FSCJ’s Adult Education program, exemplifies what one can achieve with fortitude and encouraging leadership. Claude comes from a troubled background, including dropping out of high school, serving prison time and being a victim of gun violence. The Trinidad and Tobago native fell into street culture at an early age when his family relocated to New York City.
“Fighting, assault, disorderly conduct, getting locked up,” Claude reflected. “I did a lot of stupidness when I was growing up. I couldn’t stay out of jail.”
For a 20-year period, Claude continued down this road but expressed a desire to change. “I tried to get back on track with school. I tried different programs, but they didn’t help me like they do down here at FSCJ,” he said. “I was really scared of the GED. My mind wasn’t in it.”
Soon after, he spent three years in a Florida prison. Upon his release in 2014, Claude decided it was time to turn his life around. He moved to Jacksonville on the advice of a friend and finally summoned the courage to take the GED test at FSCJ. With the help of Edward Thomas Jr., an adjunct professor and academic tutor at Downtown Campus, Claude was able to achieve his goal.
“He came in and listened to what I said, trusted me to help him get his GED,” said Professor Thomas. “The young man came every day I was here. We went through his subjects together. He was always right there. It was a tribute to him and his dedication.”
Claude credits moving to Jacksonville and tutoring from Professor Thomas with getting him on the right track. “Right now I feel like there’s nothing I can’t learn,” he said. “Whatever I want to learn, I can learn.”
Claude plans to attend college to pursue environmental science in the future. We are immensely proud of what Claude has achieved. His dedication and Professor Thomas’ guidance are a shining example of what our amazing students and faculty can accomplish together.
The Florida Times-Union recently published a story on Claude’s journey. To read the full article, click here.