I, Duane Alexander Payne grew up and went to school in Edmonton. During my teen years I was too busy partying – trying to be cool, not too concerned about my future and taking everything for granted. I did very little to keep up with my studies and even though I had no learning barriers I struggled in class. As a result of my attitude I dropped out of school half way through grade 10, not realizing that not getting the diploma could cause so many barriers in my future.
I went on to join the trades. I signed up as an apprentice welder through the apprentice board and got myself a blue book. I worked to get my 1500 hours so I could go to school and get my ticket as a certified welder. I also went and registered for a two month course. I failed badly. I could not understand any math or the theory part of the course. I dropped out again and lost all my hours. I had to get additional 1500 hours if I wanted to go to school again.
As I was getting older and wiser I realized that I could not go on like this. I needed to get a better paying job and for that I had to go back to school. However to get to school I had to improve my math and reading skills. I found myself at a road block. I had no choice but to get my grade 12. That is when my grandma told me about the P.A.L.S. program.
I decided to give P.A.L.S. a try. It took a great deal of self talk and determination to get myself to come to P.A.L.S. This was like a second chance in life for a fresh start. I needed to get better in my math if I had to go forward. I was getting sick and tired of being sick and tired. I told my self that I could only get through this if I took it seriously. And that’s exactly what I did.
When I first started going to P.A.L.S. math felt boring as hell. But I told my self if I got up and walked away again I would never become successful. My tutor Paul Godsell helped me a lot. Paul’s pleasant and very understanding and non-judgemental and friendly attitude made me step up to the plate and do what I was supposed to do. By the end of the second month, I started to feel like I was learning and understanding math and see how things work. As I kept on coming to classes, I kept on learning more and learning faster. I started to see math as being fun and my self confidence grew.
So now it was time for a career decision. The only reason I went for welding was because it did not demand grade 12. Now I wanted to try something else. But before I could do anything, I needed to upgrade my education. I joined NorQuest and so far I passed my first semester and scoring 80 and 90 % in math.
If P.A.L.S. did no take me in, I would probably be living a life of crime and only going downhill. Today I have more self confidence and self respect. I know that with the support of my tutor Paul, my family and P.A.L.S. I can now look forward to getting a good decent job and live the life that I always dreamed of. I have my self esteem and self confidence back. I see myself getting closer to my goal each day.