Kristin Baker left her Lexington home to move to her hometown of Hazard with no job and no specific plan other than getting out of a domestic violence situation. With two young children to support, she knew she had to make a good life for her family. She enrolled at Hazard Community and Technical College and that has made all the difference.
Kristin was chosen as the student speaker at HCTC’s commencement in May, where she graduated with two associate degrees and big plans for her future.
The 2001 Hazard High School graduate is now majoring in Social Work at the University of Kentucky and she plans to be earn a bachelor’s degree next year. She will then work on a master’s degree. “My goal is to stay in Hazard and give back to my community, to be a voice for the vulnerable people, and to empower others by finding their strengths in their trying times,” she said.
“I decided to go back to school at HCTC to better my life for my girls. I discovered I could join the Ready to Work program at HCTC and go to school and work at the College at the same time,” she said. She was delighted when she learned she could earn a bachelor’s degree from UK while staying in Hazard.
“It has been a struggle along the way because I have experienced the loss of my grandfather, G.R. Baker Sr., and my lovely aunt Kara Suzanne “Suzi” Baker within a year and a half of each other. However my faith in our wonderful God, my cohort class from the University of Kentucky, and my family have all been my rock through it all,” she said.
Being at HCTC has been a positive experience. “I thought I have been out of school for too long and thought can I really do this? However my confidence in myself shot through the roof because of the experience I have had with HCTC. The entire staff has been great and empowered me to always do my best,” she said. She worked in the president’s office and led the Student Ambassadors, two leadership roles she describes as “wonderful.”
She received a letter to be in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor society; she was also nominated to be the President of the honor society. Soon after she received a full ride transfer scholarship from Phi Theta Kappa to UK. “HCTC brought me way out of my comfort zone, however I’ll forever be grateful because I have met some wonderful people in the community because of the organizations I am part of through HCTC,” she said.
Kristin has a message for others trying to decide if they should attend HCTC: “Take the chance to change your life for the better. I know without a doubt HCTC offers an outstanding education with many opportunities,” she noted.