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Cheyenne’s story: ‘It was something I was determined to change’

  • Danielle Stangler
  • November 7, 2019

For as long as she can remember, Cheyenne has wanted to be a nurse.

“Ever since middle school, and maybe before that even, it’s just something I really wanted to do,” said the former Pennsylvania resident, who is now living in Ohio. 

But before Cheyenne had the chance to finish high school, her plans had been derailed. Married and pregnant as a teenager, she recalls being told by school leaders “that I was setting a bad example for the other girls.”

Crushed by the cruelness, she left school in her senior year.

Nearly 25 years came and went. Over the years, Cheyenne occasionally considered taking a test for her GED, but the price of the exam was prohibitive. 

As some of her own children began to struggle in school, however, Cheyenne began to consider what it would mean if she could find a way to return. “When I talked to them about the importance of staying in school, they’d say ‘well, you didn’t get your high school diploma,’” Cheyenne said. “And, of course, they were right about that. So it was something I was determined to change.” 

Newly arrived in Ohio, Cheyenne contacted her county’s office of education and learned about Ohio’s 22+ adult diploma program. Soon, she was enrolled in the program at Stark State University, pursuing not just a diploma but also a workforce skills certificate in caregiving – which she saw as a good first step back on the path to nursing.  

“It was perfect for me,” she said. “The teachers were very helpful, and my academic coach was great.” 

As she looked forward to graduation and renewing her goal of becoming a nurse, Cheyenne said she feels like she has been the recipient of a great opportunity.

“It feels amazing,” she said. “I figured that I had no other choice but to get a GED. And to learn that there was a program like this was just such great news. My kids have all expressed that they’re very proud of me. And now I can tell them, ‘yes, I did it, and you can do it, too.’” 

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Graduation Alliance partners with school districts, workforce agencies and various other organizations to help create alternative paths for individuals who need flexibility and support to earn a diploma. We understand each student needs an individual pathway to graduation and we are here to help. Click here for more information.