Martin Palmerin’s story continues to inspire international students.
Nine years ago Palmerin came to Calhoun with his family from Mexico.
He spoke no English and was not familiar with American culture. Upon his arrival he enrolled at Calhoun High School.
“It was hard to learn English,” Palmerin said. “So, I dropped out in 10th grade to work.”
Palmerin never graduated from high school, but instead entered into the workforce at a carpet production company in Calhoun.
Later, he worked in a manufacturing job in Cartersville and due to some unpleasant circumstances with the economy, Palmerin was laid off from his job in 2009.
He enrolled in Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s Adult Education program and began taking English as a Second Language classes.
In less than a year’s time, Palmerin earned his GED in ESOL and graduated from the program in August 2010.
“I just pushed myself,” Palmerin said. “ I’m the first one in my family to get a GED and it feels good.”
The school’s teachers and career counselors encouraged him to obtain his U.S. citizenship.
“This will give me more opportunities. It’s a good thing,” he said.
EAGLE award honoree
Lisa McKinney, one of Palmerin’s teachers who works at the Gordon county campus, said he is an inspiration to others.
“In under two years, he has begun and completed three major life goals that take most people decades to achieve: a GED, U.S. citizenship and admission to college,” McKinney said.
McKinney recently nominated Palmerin, who was selected as the recipient of the EAGLE (Exceptional Adult Georgians in Literacy Education) award.
He will serve as a county representative for a year as an ambassador of the Gordon County adult learning center in an effort to encourage other adult learners at the school.
With his GED (General Education Diploma) and citizenship now checked off his life list, Palmerin said he’s feeling good and has even made the decision to continue learning.
His next challenge is earning a degree in industrial mechanical systems at GNTC.
“My goal is to finish,” Palmerin said. In the future, he hopes to get a good job.
His parents are Jose and Demetria Palmerin. His siblings are: Mayolo, Angel, Roberto, Jose Guadalupe, Rosa Elena, Maribel, Ana Berta and Joel Palmerin of Calhoun and California.
About the EAGLE Award