Dressed in a royal blue cap and gown, Cherokee resident Emma Hull walked across the stage on Dec. 5, at Southwestern Community College to finally have the moment she said she has been waiting on for so many years.
Part of the Mother Town Healing Program offered through the Tribal Employment Rights Office, Hull received her high school equivalency diploma.
Hull took part in SCC’s College and Career Readiness program, which offered High School Equivalency Boot Camps this past summer.
Each semester, CCR hosts classes allowing participants to earn their high school equivalency diploma in an accelerated program. Students attend class Monday through Friday for five weeks. Each week, the students prepare for and take one subject test. Upon passing all five tests, they receive their high school equivalency credential and are invited to attend a graduation ceremony.
“It’s not as hard as I thought it would be, but you definitely have to stay committed, and you can’t let yourself get overwhelmed,” Hull said. “I took it day by day, test by test.”
Hull credits her instructor, Robin Weber, with helping her stay on track and always being prepared for the next step.
“If you actually do what Ms. Weber says, you will make it through this program,” Hull said. “There’s no doubt about it. Always do your homework. You’ve got to put in time inside and outside of the classroom. Several times I’ve stayed up till 1 a.m. on the weekend doing homework.”
Hull says getting her high school equivalency through the CCR program has opened many doors for her, especially with TERO.
“Now that I’ve got my high school credentials, I can become an intern in the Mother Town Healing Program, and from there I can apply for full-time tribal jobs,” she said. “The possibilities have really opened for me.”
She might stay in school.
“My family and fiance have pushed me to go further, and I’ve decided I want to do my associate’s degree at SCC,” she said. “I really want to start in spring and keep the momentum going. I’m not sure exactly what I want to do, but I want to be here. The instructors are wonderful, and I finally feel like I can see a future for myself.”
Richard George, also of Cherokee, has already enrolled at SCC to start the Paralegal Technology program.
“This was a great experience,” George said. “The program wasn’t easy, but it was easier than I had imagined. I had built it up to be so much harder in my mind. I would recommend the program to anyone, and I’ve already recommended it to several people.”
As for Weber, she’s proud of all her students no matter what their next step may be.
“They all have such bright futures ahead of them, and I know that whatever they may do, they will succeed,” she said. “These students are truly an inspiration to me.”
The next Jackson Boot Camp is April 6-May 15. Classes run from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For those who cannot attend during the day, evening classes will be offered. For more information on SCC’s High School Equivalency program, contact Kay Wolf at firstname.lastname@example.org or 339-4262.