Leah Combs has had a turning point in her life the day she enrolled at Hazard Community and Technical College and became part of the Ready to Work program. She had dropped out of high school after becoming pregnant and then went on to earn her GED. She is now majoring in Computer Information Technology in Programming and is picking up extra money and valuable experience by working in HCTC s Technology Solutions Department. She plans to graduate in May 2015.
I love working in the Technology Solutions department. This has been a blessing for me. I get to learn new things every day and do a job that I love. The staff is amazing here; everyone has stepped up and really helped me learn the trade. One couldn't ask for a better group of mentors.
Two of those who have given her great support are Ready to Work Coordinator Sandy Campbell and Bart Massey, Technology Solutions Manager. Mrs. Campbell noted, Leah Combs is such an inspiration to me. She is very determined to complete her education and has made it her main priority. Leah inspires everyone she comes in contact by her positive attitude and genuine love for learning. I am proud to say she is a Ready to Work student and look forward to watching her achieve her goals and dreams. Massey has worked with Leah on a day-to-day basis and he is impressed. Leah is a good worker and is a team player. She is an exceptional student worker and is bright as well as self-motivated, he said.
It is challenging for her to be a single mom returning to school. It took a while for me to realize my education would not only benefit me but also better my children's quality of life and present them with more opportunity, she said.
After leaving HCTC, Ms. Combs plans to earn a bachelor s degree from WKU and find a job in Web Development. Ultimately I plan to obtain at least a master s degree in my field. But like any student I have to take it one step at a time. I know there will be obstacles along the way but I will work hard and make it through. I will not give up on my dream, she said.
Leah, of Hazard, has four brothers and she is the only one to attend college. Her father was a coal truck driver all his life and never finished high school. Her mother, however. did attend two years at Alice Lloyd but she never finished her degree. She will be the first of her immediate family to have obtained a college degree.
For the first time in my life I can say I'm proud of myself. I made the decision to go back to school not only for me but for my two children as well. I will not give up on my dream; I have worked very hard to make it this far and I will continue to work hard in order to reach my goals. People tend to take education for granted but not me. I feel privileged to have this opportunity, she said.