Lois Martin, a freshman, attending college at MCTC- Licking Valley Campus, has been named the 2012 Kentucky Association for Adult and Continuing Education (KAACE) Student of the Year.
Martin was selected from the 9,469 individuals who earned their General Educational Development (GED) Diploma in 2012. Her selection was based on achievement, commitment, and dedication to education.
Bill Teegarden, program director of Adult Education/College Preparation at Maysville Community and Technical College, recommended Martin by saying, “Education has opened up a new world for this student. She is a humble individual with a strong work ethic. I have no doubt she will be a great success.”
Success on this level is often accompanied by sacrifice. In Martin’s case, she sacrificed more than just her time and hard work, she had to make a decision to leave a way of life she learned from birth.
Martin initially thought she had finished her formal education in 2005. She was 15 years old and was graduated from eighth grade at the Pleasant Hill Mennonite School in Robertson County.
Martin followed the teachings of her church, which is affiliated with the conservative Berea Amish Mennonite church.
Her belief system, relies heavily on the literal interpretation of scripture and regards women’s roles as subservient. They also live lives separate from secular society in order to remain Godly.
This belief system is also cultural and extends to daily life activities, and education.
After Martin’s eighth grade graduation, she began preparations for a role as wife and mother, but Martin couldn’t shake her desire to further her education.
After much thought and prayer, she took the difficult and necessary steps to prepare for the GED test.
“As a little girl, I wanted to go to school. It’s been my dream to be a doctor,” Martin said. “I knew I would be disowned because the Mennonites don’t believe in furthering your education and it took me a while to decide, but I finally decided to get my GED so I could improve my life.”
Martin teamed up with Adult Education Instructor Debbie Estill at the Robertson County Adult Education Resource Center.
Together, Martin and Estill worked one-on-one in subject areas where Martin needed help – such as math, since she hadn’t reached high school algebra yet.
Teegarden said that student success is dependent, in part, on individualized learning.
“A student comes into an adult education learning center and the first thing we do is discuss the program, the student’s responsibility, and the instructor’s responsibility,” Teegarden said. “The student will then take several assessments to determine the educational strengths and weaknesses. We focus on the weaknesses and develop a Student Individual Plan of Study (SIPS) that allows student to strengthen their weaknesses to reach their goals.”
For six weeks, Martin studied and learned according to her SIPS and in April 2012, she took her GED test and passed, earning her GED diploma as well as receiving the Robertson County Adult Education Most Outstanding Student Award.
Again, Martin felt the calling to an even higher level of education. This time she reached out for college.
“When Ms. Estill and the Leslie family found I had a thirst for learning, they encouraged me to go further,” Martin said. “I decided to go to the Licking Valley Campus because it was close to home, small, and the prices are affordable.”
And when Martin answered the call of higher education at college, she answered with excellence and commitment. With a full load of classes that have included English, anatomy, algebra, communications, biology and others, Martin has achieved a 4.0 grade point average (GPA).
Martin plans to graduate in Spring 2014 with an associate in science degree from LVC, and hopes to then transfer her earned credits to a four-year institution such as the University of Kentucky or Morehead State University.
And she doesn’t want to stop there. She already has her sights set on medical school and hopes to help people, and serve God, as a future neurosurgeon.
“It has been hard,” Martin said. “But this is the first time I can feel proud of myself.”
Martin is not the only one proud of her achievements. Harrison County Adult Education Instructor Mary June Brunker believes that Martin is poised for success for the rest of her life.
“Lois is intelligent, determined, persistent, and hard working,” Brunker said.
Teegarden agrees that Martin’s educational abilities, coupled with a refined sense of humility and self-worth, helped her achieve much.
“A student with extreme desire and hard work can accomplish a lot in six weeks. Lois’ commitment and desire to learn enabled her to achieve remarkable results,” he said.