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Local man earns GED nearly 3 decades after dropping out

Clyde Welch shows off his cap and gown for completing a GED program three decades after...
Clyde Welch shows off his cap and gown for completing a GED program three decades after dropping out of high school.(WRDW)
Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 3:29 PM EDT
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JOHNSTON, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Twenty-nine years after dropping out of high school, a local man got his diploma in Edgefield County.

It’s giving Clyde Welch a sense of accomplishment, even though he’s already owned a business for 20 years and has five children.

He graduated Friday through the GED program at Edgefield-McCormick County Adult Education and Family Literacy.

“When I was 15, things were difficult at home,” he said. “No one in my family had graduated from high school. My living conditions were bad, so I got a full-time job.”

On his second day of the 10th grade, he withdrew, eventually left the area and never returned to high school.

He got married, started a family, and launched Augusta Appliance Repairs and Service, which he has owned for almost 20 years.

“I have a good life but want to do more and continue my education,” the 43-year-old said. “I feel drawn to complete a certificate course in theology and eventually obtain an engineering degree.”

Clyde Welch gets some tutoring in his efforts to earn a GED.
Clyde Welch gets some tutoring in his efforts to earn a GED.(Contributed)

To make that happen, he knew he had to get his GED.

“Mr. Welch has shown that it is never too late to complete your educational goals,” said Vickie Butler, director of Edgefield-McCormick County Adult Education and Family Literacy. “Our staff is ready to help community members of any age, background and education level get started on accomplishing their dreams.”

He said his faith has played a vital role.

“God told me to get my GED,” he said. “Preparing for the tests was tough at times, but I knew it was important and that I would work hard until I could make it happen.”

Welch got support from everyone in the family, including his wife, two adult children, and three teens. His 16-year-old even tutored him in science.

“Our family is all the better for this experience, and we are 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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