“Tools for Success” makes me want to succeed in life. It makes me keep striving and pushing and gives me the motivation I need to keep going,”

Harford Community College’s Adult Developmental and Literacy Program is pleased to announce a new workshop entitled “Tools for Success in Education” for students to prepare themselves for Adult Basic Education courses and a General Educational Development (GED®) diploma. In the workshop, students learn how to set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals. Students establish action plans for their goals as well as develop skills in note-taking and study strategies so they can succeed in class and persist toward obtaining their GED. The workshop meets 90 minutes a week for four to eight weeks while students build learning communities to help each other navigate the demands of being a student and balancing their lives.

Milly Conklin is a perfect example of the target audience for the program. Milly has found “Tools for Success” to be exactly what she had been seeking to push her life forward in a new, positive direction. Due to the undiagnosed ADD that affected her childhood and adult life, her best efforts were not enough to prevent her from dropping out of school in 10th grade, enduring job losses over the years, and, despite three wonderful adult daughters, a stepdaughter, and several grandchildren, going through various hardships that left her reeling. This past year was particularly difficult in that she lost her job and her home, and has been going through a divorce. With no income and her unemployment ending in March 2018, things were looking bleak. However, times turned around when a new friend she met through an Al-Anon group encouraged her to get her GED and get back on track with her life. “Tools for Success in Education” has afforded Milly a new “can-do” outlook. She says, “This course not only helps me with the basics, but it also helps push me to see my potential.” Her strong faith has also contributed to her determination to succeed and achieve her goals. Milly says the “Tools for Success” program has been excellent in helping with the basics for her pre-GED work, and equally important, the encouragement and support that are critical for her to keep going. At the direction of her instructor, Rhonda Davis, Transition Specialist at Harford Community College, Milly has also created a “vision board” to help her visualize her hopes, dreams, and goals for the future. She refers to it frequently, particularly in moments of self-doubt. She has also put together her first “elevator speech” and an essay reflecting on what she has learned in the “Tools for Success” workshop. Milly’s aspiration for the future is to assist others who have gone through the same or similar experience as she did, helping them to get on track through the program and pursuing their GED. “I hope my experience with having a learning disability can be an example so others can achieve their goals. I would eventually like to work in the adult literacy program at HCC to give back what I have been given through this program,” says Milly.

Shawnta Woodson is another “Tools for Success” student who believes the program helped her put things in perspective in regard to what she wanted in life and a career. It helped her realize her full potential and organize her life better, especially the important things she needed to get done. Shawnta had previously enrolled in the GED program but had not finished; this time was different as the “Tools for Success” program gave her a whole different outlook. She has passed three tests so far and has one more to go. “Tools for Success” makes me want to succeed in life. It makes me keep striving and pushing and gives me the motivation I need to keep going,” says Shawnta. After obtaining her GED, she plans to attend HCC to pursue a degree in Business Communications and eventually own her own business.

Lisa Smallwood, mother of three grown children and grandmother and caretaker of a little girl, has marveled at what she has accomplished. She hadn’t been to school since the 1980s, but the “Tools for Success” program has enabled her to get on track toward getting her GED and has pushed her to want to continue to learn and grow. Aside from helping her academically, “Tools for Success” has also helped her grow in her personal life. She is two tests away from earning her GED and plans to continue her studies at HCC by pursuing a degree to become a paralegal. “My goal is to continue my education and focus on me,” says Lisa.

For more information on Harford Community College’s Adult Literacy program and “Tools for Success in Education,” contact Brandy Naughton at 443-412-2160 or

Home Page: Milly Conklin found the program to be exactly what she had been seeking to move her life forward in a new, positive direction.