Tim Mathews Overcomes Demons to Earn HSED, Obtain Great Job

February 15, 2019

“I felt like a hypocrite, urging my children to study and yet not having my own high school diploma,” 34-year-old Edgerton resident Tim Mathews said. Now he doesn’t have to worry. He finally earned his HSED through Blackhawk Technical College, and that has propelled him in his career path.

Tim MathewsCurrently working as a pipe operator at North American Pipe in Janesville, Tim utilized several services to get to his current position, not the least of which were BTC and FSET. “Carol [Seichter, one of his BTC instructors] and Nancy [Alseth, his FSET Specialist] were both phenomenal,” Tim said.

“Carol was absolutely the best teacher I ever had,” he said. “She was coherent and made the subjects relatable. She made for the best studying I ever had.” That studying led to Tim’s completing the testing in four weeks, completing two of the tests with honors, including high honors in social studies, where he earned 192 out of a possible 200 points, which led to three college credits. “Passing each test on my first attempt gave me self-confidence...more than I ever thought I could have,” he added.

Nancy helped Tim obtain payment for the tests and provided gas vouchers, which were invaluable as he and his wife are supporting four children, ages 9-14. “Nancy was just a delight,” Tim smiled. “She is always happy and enthusiastic, exuding a positive attitude.”
After passing his final drug test for North American in late December, and now with his HSED in hand, Tim will be moving up the ranks at North American Pipe with a significant raise. Working 12-hour days from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. while attending HSED classes immediately after work “got real tiring,” he said. But even now, he said a part of him misses that routine. “We had some great people in class,” he added.

Tim said he had been getting pushed to earn his HSED, especially by his wife. ‘Being a dropout, I had a monkey on my back. I thought construction was the best I could ever do,” Tim said. “Now, I’m doing my first inside job that I’ve ever had.” He said his wife and especially his children are extremely proud of him. He received his diploma on Christmas Eve and plans on crossing BTC’s stage in May. “It was the best Christmas present I ever got,” he smiled.

In his leisure, Tim enjoys swordsmithing, using Youtube as his instructor, having built his own forge and mixing his own alloys. He has already produced six swords.

His parents were divorced when Tim was nine. He felt his alcoholic mother and a father that was more a friend to him than a parent caused him to develop anxiety depression, which led to self-cutting and years of therapy. He left school midway through his sophomore year in 2002. “I just couldn’t take it,” he said. But those hardships belie the positive, self-confident demeanor he currently possesses.

“I have many people to thank for helping me to get to where I’m at,” Tim said. And his future outlook is nothing but positive!

Gregg Bosak, Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board Newsletter, Volume 11, Issue 1

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