Bill Tiller, son Dylan Tiller earn GEDs through Blount County Adult Education Program
By Matthew Stewart | (email@example.com)
It started with a newborn child.
As Dylan Tiller held his daughter, Chloe Alexis Tiller, at the University of Tennessee Medical Center last year, he felt a surge of emotion. “It was the great day of my life.”
Tiller’s elation then started to transform, leading to a lingering feeling. A feeling that he couldn’t shake.
“I was sick and tired of staying still,” Tiller said. “I’d been thinking for a while about getting my GED, so I finally just decided to get it.”
In late January, the 21-year-old enrolled in the Blount County Adult Education Program. He attended an orientation class and completed an initial assessment of his reading, writing and math skills.
After staff members reviewed Tiller’s assessment, they placed him on the program’s fast track. He then started attending classes and preparing for the Official GED Practice Test.
Tiller was pleased with the program, and he told his 44-year-old father, Bill Tiller, about it. “I told him that he needed to come with me. He told me that he was too old and all that stuff, but I told him that he didn’t need to enroll in graduate school or anything.”
The son argued that education has intrinsic value. “Education makes you feel better, gives you confidence about yourself. I wanted to share that with my dad, because my experience was so fulfilling and satisfying.”
In mid-February, Bill Tiller decided on the “spur of the moment” to enroll in the GED program. “I told him that I’d meet him over there. I tore through the initial assessment, and it was pretty cool. So, I told him, ‘Let’s do it!’ We’d then meet up each day, ride to Everett (Learning Opportunity Center) together, and shoot the breeze.
“While he started before me, we got to walk across the stage at the same time (to receive a certificate of high school equivalency),” he said. “In my life, there’s been no greater feeling except the day that he was born. It’s the only other time I can remember feeling that proud. He changed my life at that time, and he’s changed my life again.”
Bill Tiller is currently employed with Volunteer Heating & Cooling. The 44-year-old was hired into a technician position on the same day that he earned his GED credential.
The father has learned a lot from his 21-year-old son, as well. “I’m so proud of him. He’s a smart guy, and he’s a great guy, more importantly. Super talented, too. He wails on guitars and plays drums like nobody else. He’ll pop up on stage with my band (The Jamrites) — and absolutely blow my mind in that environment. He’ll then do the whole praise and worship scene, which is something you have to experience. He’ll absolutely wreck you.”
The younger Tiller serves as Remedy Church’s worship leader.
Set positive example
Dylan Tiller is proud of his father, as well. “It’s really awesome, and I admire him for it. My daughter was one of the major reasons I went back. I wanted to set a positive example for her. However, I don’t regret anything I did, because it’s part of my story.”
The 21-year-old wants to inspire his 1-year-old daughter. “I don’t want her to sit there and do nothing. I want her to see that anything is possible.”
Dylan Tiller, who’s worked two years at Pokey’s & Sports, is getting ready to start a new job: ICC International. He further plans next month to complete the ACT and submit college applications in January.
The 21-year-old and his wife, Hallie Tiller, would like to stay in Blount County. They recently purchased their first home.
The Tillers would like to publicly thank the Blount County Adult Education Program and its staff.
“The teachers are pretty awesome,” said Bill Tiller. “Considering this is a free program, I can’t even start to describe the great, quality teachers over there. They’re selfless people who genuinely care about students. You know that it’s not about them getting a paycheck. It’s about us learning.”
“They’re really awesome,” said Dylan Tiller. “I admire each and everyone of them. I want to go up there and give them all a hug.”