The Flagler Technical Institute graduation ceremony will be June 12.
Eric Parker will be thinking of his three children as he walks across the stage at the Flagler Auditorium during the spring graduation ceremony on June 12.
The 35-year-old Palm Coast resident completed the GED program in January and will be speaking at the ceremony on Wednesday.
The life points he wants to emphasize during his speech are: experience, strength and hope.
“I had a tough way on my previous attempts of trying to tackle getting my GED in not committing to it and or stopping partial through,” Parker said. “Getting it done was the tough part because I was stuck inside my head with all these preconceived notions that 'I was less than' and 'I should have already done this' — really just toxic thinking and really negative self talk to the point where it kind of hindered me from even being able to go forth with it.”
This attempt was different because he made it a top priority, he said.
“That’s part of my issue with it, was that I had expectations of myself that were unrealistic,” he said. “I had to start somewhere. I wasn’t typically happy with where I had to start, so it kept me from being able to get done and do it.”
Parker said while they’re used to be “negative emotion attached to education” for him, there’s not anymore.
Now, he works as a hearing aid specialist. He plans to start taking night classes to earn his associate’s degree, then continue on to get a bachelor’s in communication sciences.
“It was more teaching by example, is how that affected them,” Parker said about his kids. “Because I plan on ... continuing my education and not stopping by any means.”