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Monday, December 11, 2023

Community college grad found school a fresh start

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Starting over is not an easy thing to do, and it is an especially difficult move for those who feel they have nothing to start with. Statistically, Black students drop out of high school at rates higher than their Hispanic and white counterparts. In Indiana, recent statistics show those numbers trending similarly.

Gloria Turner, a 30-year-old Ivy Tech graduate, was one of those people. 

“I come from three generations of 15-year-old dropouts. It’s almost like it’s a generational curse. My grandmother dropped out at 15, so did my mother, and I did, too,” she said.

Getting back into school was a challenge. After losing her home, job and car within a matter of days, Turner, who was a single mother at the time, knew it was time for a change. 

“I didn’t have a whole lot of guidance on how to protect my money, so when I lost my job, I didn’t have a backup plan. Because I needed child care, I enrolled at the Excel Academy, which is an adult high school,” said Turner.

Initially, the goal was just to get child care, but the recent grad accomplished so much more. “I had been out of school for 10 years, so I didn’t think I would be able to do it. After the first week, I realized, maybe this is something I can do.

“With the staff, you’re surrounded by an abundant cloud of support. I was told by various people, don’t stop here you can go to college.” 

Turner was hesitant, because no one in her family had ever attended college. At the urging of her life coach at Excel, she enrolled in a dual course load that included college classes through Ivy Tech. She also learned that she was eligible for a 21st Century Scholars scholarship.

Turner enrolled at Ivy Tech after completing high school. While on campus, she studied human services while also working full time to provide for her 8-year-old and 18-month-old children. She also got involved in student life as a Student Government Association senator and vice president of fellowship for Phi Theta Kappa. She was also community service chair for the National Society of Leadership and Success and participated in Women in Philanthropy and Project Grow. She was an Ivy Tech Bowen Scholar and earned the title of Miss Plus Indiana. In July, she plans to take the pageant world by storm once more as a competitor for Miss Plus America.  

This past winter, Turner became the first in her family to graduate with a college degree. For her, this was just the beginning of her journey toward success.

“I’m very excited, because Ivy Tech is not the end for me. It was more of a stepping stone so that I could go on further into higher education and obtain my bachelor’s degree at IUPUI.”

Ivy Tech will open up registration for its summer and fall 2017 semesters on March 20. For more information, read the special Ivy Tech insert in this week’s Recorder and visit ivytech.edu. 

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