Twyla Bentley knows the importance of following dreams. That’s why she, at 55 years old, got her GED from Kenai Peninsula College.
She’s always wanted to be an animal doctor, and completing her education was the key to her becoming one.
“I’ve gone through all my barricades, abusive relationships, ups and downs,” she said, dressed in her cap and gown before the KPC graduation ceremony in early May. “If you want something bad enough it will happen.”
Bentley said she is continuing her education this fall to become a veterinary technician and then will go on to veterinary school.
“I’m determined to be a vet,” she said.
Graduating high school seniors would be wise to take some of that determination from Bentley as well as other students that have continued their education.
Carol Morris, 65, who received an associate of arts degree from the college, had sort of the opposite advice from Bentley.
“Don’t wait until your 65 to graduate from college,” she said. “Get right on it. It’s way harder when you’re older.”
Remy Spring, 22, who received an associate of science degree in computer electronics from the college this year, encouraged all seniors to continue learning.
“Even if you’re not really sure what you’re going to do for your big career in life, go to college for the experience of it all,” he said. “You don’t necessarily have to know, you can move on to a lot of different things.”
Spring should know. The computer electronics degree was his third degree from the college. He also has associate degrees in industrial process instruments and process operations.
And when students go to college, they should explore all the options for financial aid. That’s the advice from Callie Martin, 20, who also graduated from KPC with an associate of arts degree.
“People don’t know what’s out there,” she said.
Martin encouraged all high school seniors to talk to guidance counselors and financial aid advisors to find out what help is available.
“Many people think, ‘oh, I have to work two jobs to make the tuition for one semester,’ but they could go to financial aid and see,” she said.
Motivation, persistence and a healthy curiosity for learning seem to be the common advice from the older graduates to the high school graduates.
All that, of course, and the tenacity to follow through on ambitions, no matter the challenges.
“If you have a dream, keep to it. Don’t lose that dream, don’t give up,” Bentley said.