Adult student earns her diploma

Staff Reports • Updated May 17, 2018 at 5:00 PM

Laura Berry did not finish high school; she was 16 at the time and lived in Kansas City, Missouri with her family when she decided there were better options for her.  

In Missouri at that time, a student could quit high school at 16. A large classroom setting at the time was not her strongpoint, and frankly, she just did not want to go.  

High school was a negative experience for Berry, so she tried an online course and a home school alternative program, however, neither of those options worked for her.  Due to family dynamics at the time, Berry was just another 16-year-old girl who was not in school.  

Life continued for Berry, and she found herself in Lebanon with her husband and two boys. With a family of her own, she began to consider what she wanted for her children. She wanted them to have an education and not be part of the domino effect that had plagued her family. More than half of her father’s family had not finished high school. She did not want to see this trend continue, and she knew it had to start with her.  

A previous student referred Berry to the Adult Learning Center. She knew she had stepped out of her comfort zone when she walked into the office, but after only a few days, she realized she was going to be OK. She said she surprised herself in what she could do, and she finally eliminated the “what if I can’t do it” factor. She began to truly want her diploma for her self-satisfaction, and she knew she would not quit until she received her diploma. She never wanted her children to ask, “Mom you didn’t finish. Why should we?”   

Determination was a driving force for Berry, and she received her high school equivalency diploma within five weeks of walking into the Adult Learning Center.  

She spent more than 30 hours studying online and attending classes. She said the flexibility with the program allowed her to not only be there for her family, but also to meet the requirements of the program.   

“You are never too old to learn,” said Berry, who said is proud of herself. 

She was the youngest person in her family to quit school, but now she is the only one who has gone back and earned her diploma.  

Berry currently works with her husband in their business, Hometown Professional Services, in Mt. Juliet and is a student at John Casablancas Modeling and Career Center in Nashville. 

Berry said she encourages anyone who needs his or her diploma to call the Adult Learning Center at 615-443-8731.


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