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James W. Bentley
James W. Bentley was young, wild, and not a bit interested in school. At 17, he became an 11th grade dropout.
He found out over the years that he could not get any of the better paying jobs because he did not have a high school diploma. James was about 40 years old when he was told by his supervisor that he could not return to the job he had done in the past because he did not have his high school diploma.
It was devastating. Mr. Bentley was middle-aged, thinking about retirement, but going nowhere fast. What a blow to his ego! Determined to better himself and get the better paying job, he started on an uphill-downhill quest. He was anxious, nervous, discouraged, disappointed, and felt like giving up many times.
However, after five and one-half years of attending adult education classes in Baker County when his work schedule would allow it and ten times taking the GED test, James Bentley, with the support of his wife, family and friends, passed all the testing required to receive his Florida High School Diploma in January 2002.
"I want to say thanks to everyone who has encouraged me to keep trying. Also, thanks for the prayers that were offered up for me, thanks for your patience. I would like to encourage high school-aged young people to stay in school. When you get older, your mind is not as sharp, and it's harder to remember things when you have been out of school for years. I never thought I needed a diploma, but I was fooled."
James W. Bentley belongs to the Local 731 International Aerospace Machinist Union. His chances for promotion are much higher now that he has a Florida High School Diploma.