A New Lease on Life

Victor Roberts graduated from the Discovery Centre’s Adult Basic Education (ABE) program in St. John’s. Now 39 years old, married and a father of four, he dropped out of school in Grade 10 because he thought it was a waste of time.

Throughout his grade-school years, he struggled with formal education, and even attended two post-secondary programs after he dropped out. He quickly discovered that he wasn’t prepared academically to handle either of these programs, and, once again, experienced failure.

His girlfriend became pregnant shortly after he dropped out of high school and he was forced to find work quickly, in his words, “to grow up real fast.” When his second child was born a few years later, Victor’s relationship dissolved and his world was devastated. He struggled, but then met his current wife who, as he says, “Saw potential in me that I didn’t see myself.” Together, they started a bucket list designed to correct past mistakes.

In his 30s, Victor was a father of four and lived a job-to-job existence. He realized that he rarely had difficulty getting jobs but now he wanted a real career. He was offered a management position at a high salary but refused it because he lacked the confidence he felt he needed to be successful. In his words, “I just didn’t feel smart enough.” Then, his mother-in-law inspired him to change his life.

Linda Wadden, Victor’s mother-in-law, had attended the Discovery Centre at the age of 56. She told him that the staff at the Centre is a family and they welcome you as part of that family. “It’s never too late, and it’s the best thing I ever did“, she told him, and he listened. He set the wheels in motion just before Linda passed away in 2011.

As an adult Victor was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) which, to him, explained all the difficulties he had in grade school. During his few months at the Discovery Centre, the staff there was able to make appropriate accommodations for his diagnosis and he graduated in February 2013. He sometimes felt like quitting especially when his wife had two surgeries on her back and going to work again to support his family in the short-term seemed his fate. But, with the support of the Centre’s staff and his family he did not give up on himself. He made the decision to invest in his own and his family’s future to see it through.

Today, Victor has that management position he turned down two years ago. Not only was high school graduation checked off his bucket list, he says his life is changed forever. “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life,” he says, “other than my children. I now have the confidence that I lacked and feel as if there’s nothing I can’t do!”

Victor is quick to thank the Discovery Centre, the Murphy Centre Career Services, and his family and friends especially his mother and sister who came from Ontario for his graduation party. His message to anyone who will listen is simple: “It’s never too late.”

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