Life is in sight at last

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Crystal Milligan was featured in a series about high school dropouts that appeared in the May 27 and 28 editions of The Augusta Chronicle. This story follows her progress since then.

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Crystal Milligan's future once did not seem so bright. She failed her high school's exit exam four times before she recently passed it. Now, with a diploma, she plans to join the Army Reserves and go to college full time.  Kendrick Brinson/Staff
Kendrick Brinson/Staff
Crystal Milligan's future once did not seem so bright. She failed her high school's exit exam four times before she recently passed it. Now, with a diploma, she plans to join the Army Reserves and go to college full time.

Crystal Milligan can, as her mother puts it, live again.

Her life, hopes and dreams were put on hold because of Georgia's high school exit exam. Failing the test prevented her from earning a diploma, getting a job and entering the military.

Four times she took the science portion of the four-part Georgia High School Graduation Test, the part that has proved the most difficult for students statewide. Four times the Butler High School student came up short.

She didn't on the fifth time. Ms. Milligan learned last month that she passed the test administered in July.

"Not only can I go to school, I can get a job," Ms. Milligan, 18, said Friday.

Gloria Milligan said her daughter was becoming depressed, wasn't talking much and began growing indifferent, but she kept pushing her.

"From getting the diploma, I've seen a real change in her," Mrs. Milligan said.

Her daughter plans to sign up for the Army Reserves and enroll in college to study public relations or nursing.

"She would still be waiting. She could do nothing (without a diploma)," Mrs. Milligan said.

According to the Georgia Department of Education, more than 20,000 juniors failed the science portion of the test last year. That's more than any other section of the test. About 700 of them were from Richmond County.

"It's about persistence," said Stacey Mabray, Richmond County's science coordinator.

The county is working on several initiatives to raise achievement in science, she said.

Last school year, Richmond County implemented its academic reform plan to raise the standards for all high school students and provide extra funding for science labs, Ms. Mabray said.

A lab manual was also developed to ensure students across the county are exposed to a uniform set of basic experiments, Ms. Mabray said. Pre-testing is performed to find out early where students are struggling, she said.

The state's new curriculum and graduation requirements should also bolster science scores, Ms. Mabray said.

What made the difference for Ms. Milligan was her summer school teacher, Mary Jo Godfrey.

The Hephzibah Middle School teacher said she uses pre-testing to determine weak areas. She then drills her students on the information to make sure it is clear.

Mrs. Godfrey said motivation is also important.

"You've got to believe in yourself," she said. "When you've already taken this test two, three, four times, you're beaten down."

Mrs. Godfrey challenged students to continue their class work at home.

Ms. Milligan did, her mother said. Instead of going out, she stayed home and studied.

"Every chance I got I looked over the notes," Ms. Milligan said.

It paid off.

"She's on her way to get her life started because it was on hold for a bit," Mrs. Milligan said.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

NEED HELP?

Richmond County science coordinator Stacey Mabray said resources are available for those who never passed the Georgia High School Graduation Test. People can enroll in summer school, use school system software and pick up science resource packets from her office. For more information, call the science department at (706) 826-1102.

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patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 09/17/07 - 04:47 am
0
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Good for Gloria for pushing

Good for Gloria for pushing her daughter and not letting her give up. It's a shame Crystal was allowed to advance so far in school with such a deficiency in science. Congrats to Crystal for passing the test and moving on with her life with a positive goal.

pofwe
5
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pofwe 09/17/07 - 05:09 am
0
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What is the purpose of this

What is the purpose of this story? I wouldn't want people to know I failed the same test ... what 4 times. Now the county is "working on several initiatives to raise achievement in science," in other words they're going to dumb the test down. More than 20,000 failed the test last year, whish means thousands more passed the 1st time. I believe the army is a good fit for the young lady. Best of luck!

Jenn30907
0
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Jenn30907 09/17/07 - 06:15 am
0
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It takes a bigger person to

It takes a bigger person to admit they failed! Kudos to Crystal and Gloria. In a world where too many parents are not involved in their children's lives and where kids give up too easily, these two are role models. Crystal good luck in whatever your future holds.

slo4sho
0
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slo4sho 09/17/07 - 06:21 am
0
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pofwe.So what she took the

pofwe.So what she took the test 4-times.She is trying to be all she can be.In The Army.

avidreader
3233
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avidreader 09/17/07 - 06:38 am
0
0
She's contemplating Nursing,

She's contemplating Nursing, and it took five attempts to pass a science test. Now there's irony.

justus4
101
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justus4 09/17/07 - 06:42 am
0
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This is a lose/lose story.
Unpublished

This is a lose/lose story. Pofwe ask,"what is the purpose of this story?" Well, it design to send a message that some people are slow learners or ignorant, especially minorities. The story reinforces a stereotype, secretively held by whites, that is negative and attempts to portray it as a positive, using a willing, uninformed individual. Ecidujerp spelled backwards is PREJUDICE; either way it does not make sense.

itamazezme
0
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itamazezme 09/17/07 - 06:51 am
0
0
If at first you don't

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. (Mrs. White, my first grade teacher) CONGRATS!!!!!!!

amazed1
0
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amazed1 09/17/07 - 06:54 am
0
0
maybe, the fault lies with

maybe, the fault lies with the school system. If science is so important, then perhaps the schools should push the course more.

jaschild
5
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jaschild 09/17/07 - 07:06 am
0
0
Wow, pofwe, hopefully you are

Wow, pofwe, hopefully you are not a teacher or parent. this is about accomplishment and persistence. there is no shame in that. why all the negative comments?!?!

ripjones
2
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ripjones 09/17/07 - 07:44 am
0
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Way to go Crystal !! To the

Way to go Crystal !! To the rest of you sourpusses - and you know who you are - stuff it !! And POFWE - the test is a State one, so there will be no dumbing down. Some of y'all could bring down a hot-air balloon. Get a life...

Republicant
3
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Republicant 09/17/07 - 07:58 am
0
0
Why is this oxygen thief

Why is this oxygen thief getting airtime? And what kind of college is she going to attend? She is obviously a paragon of scholarly virtue...

butterflygina
159
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butterflygina 09/17/07 - 08:02 am
0
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Crystal I'm proud of you and

Crystal I'm proud of you and knew you could do it? All the haters reading the paper today probably couldn't pass it. And probably couldn't pass the test had they had one back in high school.

ShakingMyHeadInShame
2
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ShakingMyHeadInShame 09/17/07 - 08:08 am
0
0
A HUGE Congratulations to

A HUGE Congratulations to you, Crystal. Some would have given up the first time! Mom...be proud..Crystal is on her way to better and brighter things. As a military retiree, we need more young people like you! You serve as an inspiration to me.

ImThatGuy
0
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ImThatGuy 09/17/07 - 08:10 am
0
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Way to go Crystal!!! Not all

Way to go Crystal!!! Not all test are the same. Let your haters be your motivators! Remember you are able to succomb any obstacle placed in your path called Life if you keep the most important man in your life.

truthbknown
0
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truthbknown 09/17/07 - 08:47 am
0
0
Way to go!!! I think it is

Way to go!!! I think it is wonderful that you have a Mom who cares..... Good luck in all your future plans!!!!! To all you haters out there. this is a prime example of a young lady on her way to a better life, why hate it!!!

arc parent
0
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arc parent 09/17/07 - 08:56 am
0
0
I just cannot believe some of

I just cannot believe some of the comments here! I sure hope you don't have kids. First off, not all kids test the same - second, some of these teachers should NOT be teaching anything much less Science, third, why are these things not being caught before they get into 11th grade? My daughter failed the Science part - she went to summer school - where they offered a FREE course to help you pass the science test (or whichever one you were having problems with) and yes this was in Richmond County and when she took the test again she passed it. What's weird is that a lot of these kids that fail the test have made A's, B's, and C's throughout school so they should have no problem passing the test, right - but that is not always the case because the teachers have failed to teach the information. By the way, CONGRATULATIONS CRYSTAL AND MOM!!! KEEP UP THE HARD WORK!!!

toppergem
125
Points
toppergem 09/17/07 - 09:26 am
0
0
Not every person is a good

Not every person is a good test taker. A person may know the information but the wording of the test question may be throws them. There are lots, and lots of reasons a person may not perform well on tests. My goodness, some of you that post here are heartless, mean and cruel. Ignorance (as you stated earlier) may not be one of them. Don't some of you ever have anything nice to say? This young lady deserves the be congratulated for not giving up, staying the course and doing her very best. I am sure she was told by her mother and other motivators...No matter how many times you try...the ultimate outcome is to be successful. Something we all might do well to remember!

misscj0123
1
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misscj0123 09/17/07 - 09:29 am
0
0
This young lady has much to

This young lady has much to be proud of. She did not give up and she succeeded in passing her tests to get her diploma. I also give credit to her mother and Mrs. Godfrey. More parents and teachers should be like them. Congratulations to you, Crystal. I wish you well.

WAG
287
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WAG 09/17/07 - 09:30 am
0
0
Keep on keepin on Crystal....

Keep on keepin on Crystal.... If you have to take it 10 times so what. as long as you take it..... Good luck in all you do.

Republicant
3
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Republicant 09/17/07 - 09:30 am
0
0
Big ups to the drop outs!! 4

Big ups to the drop outs!! 4 times is nuthin!

BoldTruth
0
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BoldTruth 09/17/07 - 09:32 am
0
0
There are many problems, with

There are many problems, with the school system. Just as there are many people that will look on the negitive instead of the positive. Yes it takes some students longer to learn some things then others, but at least she did not give up. I say congratulations to her and continue to give it your all. NEVER GIVE-UP.

KingJames
10
Points
KingJames 09/17/07 - 09:42 am
0
0
Congratulations Crystal, Mrs.

Congratulations Crystal, Mrs. Milligan, and Mrs. Godfrey. This story is proof that sometimes standard approaches to teaching may not work with all students. It alsao proves that Crystal knows that hard work and determination will ultimately lead to success. She is an inspiration to us all. Her desire to possibly become a nurse could also have been influenced by the things she learned from Mrs. Godfrey. Crystal may actually see science in a new light now. Once again, congrats to Crystal and thanks mom and teacher for not giving up on her. The community is better off because she is on her way to becoming successful.

Newsreader
11
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Newsreader 09/17/07 - 09:45 am
0
0
"What is the purpose of this

"What is the purpose of this story? I wouldn't want people to know I failed the same test ... what 4 times." wrote pofwe. Well the purpose is to present a follow up to an earlier story, before Crystal had passed the test. The purpose is to present a story of success. Humans must experience something, or be taught by someone whom has, in order to learn. It is the responsibility of the school system to teach the children what is needed to make it to college or the workplace. The proof of that knowledge is the diploma. It is the students responsibility to take in the experience and learn the information. However, it requires that both the school system and the student (including their family) to work together and present the material in a manner that the student can and is willing to learn. Without the teamwork a student will not learn. Race is not an issue. Students need to be grouped by their learning ability and willingness, not their race or economic standing. I think that this presented the information of working together, the school system is trying to provide all students with the necessary lessons for the students get the knowledge to pass the test. THIS IS A SUCCESS STORY.

Edward B. Turner
69
Points
Edward B. Turner 09/17/07 - 09:56 am
0
0
Crystal, you are an

Crystal, you are an inspiration to all!!! God bless you!

Republicant
3
Points
Republicant 09/17/07 - 10:48 am
0
0
A rant to all the haters on

A rant to all the haters on this board who flag messages that are not vulgar or racist. Thats called censorship. You are all oxygen thiefs.

vickidu52
15
Points
vickidu52 09/17/07 - 10:48 am
0
0
Crystal, remember your mother

Crystal, remember your mother helped push you when you wanted to quit. Also, remember you did it even when it seemed impossible. Now for the public, remember this girl when you look up and she's saving your life! Crystal, you will fail many times in life but you already have learned to keep on keeping on girl. You will NEVER be a failure because YOU are amazing! Gob bless and good luck!

dani
12
Points
dani 09/17/07 - 11:33 am
0
0
This is a success story, I

This is a success story, I agree. But, having to take the test 4 times?
Un----believable.
Something is wrong someplace. What did she do in school all those years?

mgroothand
5
Points
mgroothand 09/17/07 - 12:07 pm
0
0
For all you Ranters and

For all you Ranters and Ravers, in journalism this is called a "Human Interest" story. When the A/C first reported this story in May they could have easily dropped it there but, instead, they did a follow-up and should be commended for it. A true Human Interest story.

dani
12
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dani 09/17/07 - 12:20 pm
0
0
Human interest, huh? well,

Human interest, huh?

well, I've always heard that there is something out there for everybody.

lovingthesouth72
1368
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lovingthesouth72 09/17/07 - 12:22 pm
0
0
Congratulations Crystal! And

Congratulations Crystal! And Mrs Gloria Miller is a great example of parental involvement. She encourated Crystal to not give up! Now look what she has accomplished. Of course, it would have been so much easier to not encourage her child, let her give up, and then live off of welfare and food stamps. Now, Crystal can bet he best she can be and make a difference in this world. All because of a loving parent. Who cares if you fail the test the 4th time, she passed it on the 5th! The merit is in the being able to try again.

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