Bret Boardman was your typical high school student. He did well in school and excelled in percussion instruments with the Paris High School Marching Band. After graduating from PHS in 1999, he began his coursework at Morehead State University.
Again, he performed well in the classes he really liked, but admitted he couldn’t see the point of taking classes that didn’t interest him, even though those classes were a part of his graduation requirements. At the end of his freshman year, Boardman dropped out of college.
That’s when he started his real life experience. After working a string of jobs, he found himself in a 115-degree warehouse at the end of one summer and realized he couldn’t do this for the rest of his life.
“It’s a different world when you’re 31 than when you’re 18,” Boardman said. “Ten years of real world living. I had so many jobs I can’t name them all. I got tired of being in a dead end with no education.”
That’s when he ventured down the street to the Donald W. Kiser Paris Extension of Maysville Community and Technical College. He enrolled in two classes his first semester and surprised himself by doing well. He continued to build on that initial experience, eventually taking a full load of classes each semester for three years, with summer sessions in between each school year.
“It’s the other side of the coin when you’re a non-traditional student. And you see that too, when you are in classes and there are other non-traditional students with you,” Boardman said. “You can tell, because they’ve been out there in the not-so-good jobs, [they know] that doing your homework and reading the chapter is more important than going to a party.”
Boardman knew that in order to receive an education, he would have to make sacrifices. He continued working odd jobs, lived on tax returns, and listened to lectures while he delivered pizzas.
His persistence has paid off. Boardman has repeatedly been named to the MCTC Dean’s List for student who earn all As and Bs, and was once named to the President Honors List for straight As. In addition to that, when Boardman graduates next month, he will receive two degrees – an Associate of Arts degree and an Associate of Science degree. He even has an interview lined up with an admissions counselor at Morehead State University to transfer his coursework there. This second chance, he said, makes real life living look even better.
“One of the best things I got through my college experience here was that all through my life, people kept saying, ‘You’re so smart,’” Boardman said. “I never believed it. I never realized they were right until I came here. I just love learning. I’m hooked on learning.”