Impact Stories

Basic Literacy & Numeracy

Student Stories

Literacy Takes Sharecropper’s Son to Board of Directors

December 9, 2022


John H. Taylor’s story is evidence that it’s never too late to take the steps to improve your life. For him, that meant learning to read.  

John is 76 years old, the seventh of 14 children, and the son of sharecroppers. As soon as he could pull a plow behind a mule, he was whisked out of the classroom and sent into the fields.  

In 2013, at 68 years old, John decided to go back to school. He couldn’t read or write, but he knew it wasn’t too late for him. John found a one-on-one tutor and adult basic education classes at the ProLiteracy Member organization Adult Literacy League (ALL).  

Now, 9 years later, John is not only a student who has made significant progress, but he also serves on ALL’s Board of Directors. He represents the students point of view and makes sure that all agency decisions are made with the students’ best interests in mind.  

Since entering the adult education program, John reads and writes for pleasure. He has voted, purchased insurance, opened a bank account, filled out medical forms with ease, and increased his overall self-esteem.  

And his achievements were recently honored in October at the 2022 ProLiteracy Conference on Adult Education with the Dollar General Student of the Year Award. This award recognizes the achievements of an outstanding adult learner every two years at the ProLiteracy Conference. 

John wanted to be more than a sharecropper’s son, and he built himself into the tenacious man he is today through hard work, discipline, and self-respect.  

Congratulations, John! 


We are currently accepting nominations for the Dollar General Student of the Year and other awards to be presented at the ProLiteracy Conference on Adult Education 2024, October 6–9 in Baltimore, MD.

Nominate an outstanding adult learner, tutor, or program