CAMP VERDE - For close to 30 years, Glenna Baker studied cells and cellular anomalies.
Today, she helps aspiring high school graduates pass their GED exams.
After retiring in 2010 from her career as a cytotechnologist, Baker wanted to keep busy.
One day, while working out at a local fitness center, Baker saw a posting for an advanced computer class. The class was held at the Camp Verde Adult Learn Center, located at 395 S. Main St. room 305.
So Baker showed up to the class. And offered to be a volunteer.
"If you teach me, I will teach the class," Baker told then-director Kathy Brezina. "So I started teaching the computer class. Then I taught the GED class. When Kathy stepped down as director, I was asked to be the interim director. Here I am."
As of June 2013, Baker has been the center's director. Since her first day at the center, Baker realized how much she loves teaching.
"I never would have believed it," Baker said. "If you told me two years ago that I'd be doing this, I would have said, 'Are you kidding me?' This is so rewarding, I cannot describe it."
Though Baker tutors her students, many of the center's GED-related programs are computer-based.
"It's very individualized," Baker said. "We have a basic reading program on the computer. It takes people thoroughly through it to improve their reading skills."
Camp Verde resident Marisa Wolfe recently spent a morning working on her writing and math skills at the center.
"She has been a great help to me," Wolfe said. "Anytime I need help with my writing skills, she tells me what makes sense. And she proofreads what's on the computer."
Said Camp Verde resident Tina Mullinax: "Glenna gets me going in the book and on the computer. Glenna is very smart. And she is positive about everything."
Baker said that being optimistic is a key to teaching.
"We're all learning," Baker said. "Sometimes we make inappropriate choices, but that doesn't define the person you are. I'm here to bring up their self-esteem, their self-worth. That's really important. So often, people come from high school with a less than positive image of themselves.
"You have to believe you can do something in order to do it," Baker continued. "It's not if you pass. It's when you pass. That's an important concept. That's what we try to foster here."
Baker knows one student who came to the center in her mid-50s, having dropped out of school at age 16.
"It took her two years, but she passed [the GED exam] and she was so happy. It was wonderful."