Ashley and Nicholas Banks of Owsley County are grateful to the Ready to Work program at Hazard Community and Technical College because of the help they received in fulfilling their educational goals. The husband and wife are working toward their dreams together.
Nicholas graduated Saturday, May 10 from HCTC with an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science and he will be transferring to Eastern Kentucky University in the fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. He plans on becoming a parole officer.
“Ready to Work has helped me so much it’s really unbelievable! I did not even graduate high school I actually started on the Work and Learn program and stayed on that program until I earned my GED in 2010 it took me three tries! Then I enrolled in college classes and got on the RTW program. RTW has allowed me to further my education as well as provided me with the chance to better my life for my family and myself,” Nicholas noted.
“I have never been very confident in myself and never really felt that I could accomplish much of anything, but when I earned my GED I began to see that I was just as capable of doing this as anyone else and my new found confidence has been the drive that I have needed to succeed. Above all else you have to have confidence in yourself,” he said.
Nicholas wants to encourage others to attend HCTC because he believes others can have the wonderful experience he has had. “Anyone can do this! I mean look at me, I never even had a high school diploma; I dropped out my senior year of high school. When my first son was born I realized I had to do something to better myself for my family and I had no idea that RTW could have lead me so far! It still blows me away that I am only three semesters away from my bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. It’s been such a blessing to be a part of such a wonderful program.”
Sandy Campbell, Ready to Work Coordinator, noted, “I am proud of Nicholas and Ashley and all that they have accomplished. They are a perfect example of learning to overcome personal struggles to reach their full potential. Their story should be an inspiration for others as well.”
Ashley Banks is pursuing a degree in Human Services and plans to graduate in fall of 2015. “Ready to Work has been a wonderful experience for me. I have been able to earn some income to provide for my boys as well as pursue my educational goals. Without this program I highly doubt that this would have ever been possible I am truly grateful for this experience,” she said.
“The biggest struggle that I have overcome took place this semester, with the loss of my Dad. My Dad was diagnosed with stage-three lung cancer in April 2013 and he passed away April 5, 2014. It was one of the hardest things I have ever faced. That whole week it seemed that I allowed my work to fall behind; I really could not make myself care. Then one day I heard my Daddy’s voice in my head telling me to get up and do that work so I did, I caught up on every assignment that I had missed. If I have learned anything you cannot let life’s struggles get you down. You have to keep at it even on days you don’t really want too.”
Like her husband, Ashley sings the praises of the HCTC Ready to Work program. “I appreciate the Ready to Work Program because this program has allowed me to accomplish so much and when I do receive my degree I feel like I can walk away confidently with the skills that I will need in my future career. I would advise anyone who has a desire to further their education to start now; it’s never too late. I won’t say that it has been easy; there have been many nights that I have sat at my kitchen table and worked on papers until 3 in the morning and then rolled out of bed to get my boys ready for school at 6 but it has all been worth it and I hope they see how hard that their Dad and I have worked to make sure they have the best beginning possible,” she said.