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Gloversville Literacy Zone graduates featured on Good Morning America

Two women pose in front of a Literacy Zone sign.

Paula O’Neil and her daughter Chantel Batuk.

The continued educational success of a local mother and daughter, who both earned their high school equivalency diplomas through the HFM Gloversville Literacy Zone, was a featured story on Good Morning America Tuesday, May 9.

Local residents Paula O’Neil and her daughter Chantel Batuk, both earned GEDs through classes at the Literacy Zone. Following their studies at the Literacy Zone, they both went on to earn degrees together at Fulton Montgomery Community College. From there, they entered the University at Albany, where they excelled in the school’s social work program. The two will graduate this spring with bachelor of science degrees with both of them having earned GPAs over 3.9. Their efforts inspired other family members to return to school and O’Neil will further continue her education pursuing an advance degree in social work.

“Don’t let your age, or your circumstance determine your journey,” O’Neil said during her interview on the ABC morning program.

O’Neil said education changed her life.

“When I walked into that school it changed by life completely – the way I looked at the world, the way I see things, the opportunities,” she said.

Batuk says her mother has been an inspiration.

“My mom is just so inspiring. She’s just been a testament to me that it’s never too late. Things aren’t out of reach,” Batuk said during the interview.

O’Neil said the effort to complete the GED and college degrees was worth it.

“It’s not easy but it’s an investment in yourself,” she said.

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