JOHNSTON, SC (WRDW/WAGT) – Twenty-nine years after dropping out of high school, a local man has graduated in Edgefield County.
It gives Clyde Welch a sense of accomplishment, even though he’s already owned a business for 20 years and has five children.
He graduated Friday from Edgefield-McCormick County’s Adult Education and Family Literacy GED program.
“When I was 15 things were tough at home,” he said. “No one in my family had graduated from high school. My living conditions were bad, so I found a full-time job.
On the second day of 10th grade, he retired, eventually leaving the area, and never returned to high school.
He got married, started a family and started Augusta Appliance Repairs and Service, which he has owned for almost 20 years.
“I have a good life but I want to do more and continue my studies,” the 43-year-old said. “I feel drawn to the idea of taking a course leading to a certificate in theology and possibly getting an engineering degree.”
To get there, he knew he had to get his GED.
“Mr. Welch has shown that it’s never too late to achieve your educational goals,” said Vickie Butler, director of Adult Education and Family Literacy for Edgefield-McCormick County. staff are ready to help community members of all ages, backgrounds and levels of education begin to achieve their dreams.”
He said his faith played a vital role.
“God told me to get my GED,” he said. “Preparing for the tests was difficult at times, but I knew it was important and that I would work hard until I could get there.”
Welch has the support of everyone in the family, including his wife, two adult children and three teenage children. His 16-year-old son even gave him science lessons.
“Our family is all the better for this experience, and we’re so proud of him,” said his wife, Wendy. “It took courage and humility for Clyde to return to school, and I had no doubt he would succeed.”
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