Written by Grace Park, AmeriCorps VISTA, and Gabrielle Mahler Content Manager, City of Philadelphia, Office of Children and Families
Demore Dupont is a 71 year-old student with Philadelphia FIGHT, one of the City’s community-based organizations that offers free, quality adult education and career readiness classes through the myPLACE network. “My daughter said to me one day, ‘Dad, I want you to get your GED!’” That’s how it started. “She called [Philadelphia FIGHT] and got me enrolled for free.”
Dupont was raised by his grandmother. When she passed away his junior year in high school, he made the decision to leave school and begin working in order to financially provide for himself. Now, nearly 55 years later, Dupont has returned to the classroom and is encouraging young people to stay in theirs.
“When I see young men (hanging out) on the subway, like I used to do when I was younger, I try to encourage them to go to school.” His best advice for them, “Get your education.” He leads them by example as he pursues his own.
Dupont has taken a variety of classes at Philadelphia FIGHT, such as economics, English, health, math, and political science. “It’s beautiful to be able to go out and talk to intelligent people. I love it and it has opened my mind.”
Some adult learners enroll in classes to meet professional goals. Others, like Dupont, want to stay engaged and continue learning as a personal goal. “I like talking to students and keep[ing] myself busy.” Dupont is a testament to the fact that learning does not have to stop at a certain age.
“It’s an endeavor. It’s an activity, like running. It’s great! I love going to school. It makes me feel a little better [and] younger!” Dupont boasts.
After obtaining his GED, Dupont plans on attending community college to continue learning new topics, meeting new people, and finding new interests.