Edgar Costilla, 2016 Scholar of the Year

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Overcoming addiction for a bright future

Just a year before giving a speech to his classmates at graduation, Edgar Costilla hit his breaking point.

“My situation before NexStep was pretty intense,” he recalled. He had dropped out of high school to help make ends meet. Over the years, he would take jobs that required him to work long hours. He formed a drinking habit which grew into an addiction.

Recognizing that the alcoholism was becoming a problem in his life, Edgar traded one vice for another. Soon he was addicted to drugs and life was spiraling out of control. He hit rock bottom after suffering from a psychotic break, but that’s when his life started to turn around.

He sought treatment and, after completing it, decided to go to NexStep Alliance to earn his GED. A partnership between Goodwill and Wichita Area Technical College, NexStep provides the opportunity to earn a GED with the option to take college level classes and pursue a professional certificate.

“Once you’ve fallen down, it is hard to get back up again,” Edgar said. But NexStep staff were there to support him. Success is often not a straight line, and that rang true for Edgar as over the years he had tried and failed more than once to earn his GED. Finally, for the first time, he decided to put school first and succeeded.

“Really the thing that set Edgar apart from day one was his focus, was his commitment to his education, his enthusiasm and his energy that he poured into it,” Instructor Joseph Kester said.

On his fourth attempt, Edgar passed the GED exams. As he celebrated a year clean and sober, he addressed his classmates at the NexStep Alliance graduation ceremony. That proud moment is only the beginning of his story. He’s continuing his education at WATC and is exploring careers in communications like videography and design.

Now, life is intense, but in a good way. Now, anything is possible.