Gage Johnson

Discipline as the Key to Success

Gage Johnson is busy. His day starts at 4 in the morning. He gets up to teach CrossFit and Boot Camp classes at his gym, before speeding off to attend his college classes. After class, he goes to work and doesn’t make it home until 9 in the evening. It’s usually around midnight when he finally gets to lie down. And the next day, his routine starts all over again. And he’s only 17.

“I’ve been working out consistently since I was 12,” Johnson said. “My parents always taught me that if you want to get stuff done, you’ve just got to do it and be disciplined with it. I knew if I were lazy, it would never happen.”

Born in Albion, IN, Gage moved around with his family, first to Evansville, IN, then Texas, then to Corinth, MS, at age 15. At age 16, he enrolled in Northeast Mississippi Community College’s Adult Education program. Having been homeschooled since 4th grade, he had developed a knack for self-reliance which served him well in the program.

He also had a knack for achievement had was accepted into the Gateway and MIBEST training programs, earned a platinum score on the Career Readiness Certificate (the highest possible score), and obtained high scores on his high-school-equivalency exam.

“He was always a top-notch student in my class,” Deanne Droke, Gateway Career Specialist and Smart Start Instructor, said. “He is the most respectful and mature 16-year-old I have ever had in my class, or met, for that matter.”

How did he achieve so much?

“I didn’t want to get the minimum,” Gage said of his achievements. “I wanted to do better because I knew I could. Sometimes your school work gets boring, but you know you have to get it done to finish what you want to achieve. If there’s something you don’t want to do [to succeed], you say, ‘Well, I have to do this if I want to achieve my goal.’”

Gage found NEMCC’s program to be a good complement to his intense internal motivation.

“If I didn’t have them [the adult ed staff] I wouldn’t have known what I was supposed to do. Every time I had a question, it got answered. If I asked for help, I got it.”

So, what’s next for Gage?

Gage plans on completing his college degree in Criminal Justice, then pursuing a career in law enforcement, first with the highway patrol, then federal law enforcement. He doesn’t want to stop achieving.

“I think accomplishing your goals is (the definition of) success.” Gage says, “It’s important when you finish a big goal to set another one. You don’t want to just stay in the same spot.”

Some students merely learn. Students such as Gage also teach by setting an inspiring example for others, and by achieving and accomplishing goals, over and over again.

Reanna Stasney

Making a Pathway to Success

Although Reanna was nervous about pursuing higher education, she was focused on obtaining her HSE and making a pathway for herself to pursue career advancement opportunities.

Reanna Stasney had never attended public school before enrolling in the NEMCC Adult Education program, but she had worked on cars. Being new to Northeast Mississippi, Stasney and her mother were extremely excited to hear about the programs offered at NEMCC.

“This was an opportunity that I could not pass up,” said Stasney.

Before completing Smart Start, she was enrolled in the WIOA Gateway Youth Program. Stasney earned essential job skills, the NCRC, resume-writing and communication skills, and much more through the Gateway program.

Because of Stasney’s hard work and dedication, she was recommended to attend the MIBEST program by her instructors, Gateway Career Specialist, and Transitions Specialist. She was accepted into MIBEST, and has taken full advantage of the program’s benefits. She earned her HSE in December 2019 and is now a full-time student at NEMCC where she majors in Auto Mechanics.

Stasney continues to work part-time while attending college to pursue her dream of becoming a mechanic. After earning her Automotive degree, she hopes to get a job working on older model vehicles.

“I am so glad that we moved to Corinth and that I walked into the NEMCC adult ed office in the fall of 2019,” says Stasney. “By enrolling at Northeast, I was able to pursue my education and career.”

Stasney is marrying her fiancé, who is also majoring in Automotive Mechanics, in the fall of 2021. They plan to pursue a career together and open their own business one day. With the dedication she has displayed thus far, working hard and staying focused through numerous obstacles, she is bound for success.

Payton Tapp

Payton Tapp

The Gateway to Success

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Payton Tapp was determined to continue and complete his education. In March of 2020, Payton began the Smart Start program at Northeast Mississippi Community College (NEMCC), but due to the pandemic, classes were suspended.

However, this didn’t deter Payton. He returned when classes resumed in September and worked diligently to complete his coursework. He was made a candidate for the Gateway program, a job skills and workforce training program, and began the process of enrollment.

He joined the program on October 6. Since his enrollment, Payton has taken advantage of the great opportunities the Gateway program has to offer.

He completed the program’s essential job skills training, obtained his National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), and began his paid work experience internship at the Booneville Exxon—all while finishing his requirements to earn his High School Equivalency Diploma.

In a few short weeks, Payton had passed his high school equivalency exam and had fulfilled a total of 160 hours of paid work experience offered by the Gateway program. His experience prepared him for the next stage of his education: NEMCC’s Welding program.

With support from his instructors, counselors, and lessons learned, Payton was prepared for NEMCC’s Welding program and began classes in January of 2021.

He is currently completing NEMCC’s Welding program and credits his Adult Education and Gateway program instructors with the support, insight, and guidance they provided. Payton’s story proves that anything can be achieved through focus and perseverance.

If you are interested in participating in the WIOA Gateway Program, please contact 662.720.7574 for more information.

The Gateway Program is funded by the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) through Northeast Mississippi Community College, The Mississippi Partnership Board and Three Rivers Planning and Development District. 

#NEMCCGateway #nemccwioagatewayyouth

#WIOA #NEMCCAE #SmartStart #NCRC

#ThisCouldBeYou #SkillUpMississippi

Travis Davis

Travis Davis Picture

Succeeding Despite the Pandemic

 

Travis Davis was determined to continue his education despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Travis quickly enrolled at Mississippi Delta Community College (MDCC) and began his Adult Education courses on July 23, 2020, at MDCC’s Moorhead campus.

Not only was Travis able to complete his coursework online, but he also had the option of getting face-to-face instruction from his instructors.

Travis was also enrolled in Smart Start, a workforce readiness program, and learned valuable communication, time-management, and team-building skills. Through his coursework, Travis gained confidence in himself, learned valuable job-related skills, and developed a strong work ethic.

His hard work earned him a NCRC Bronze Certificate, a Smart Start Credential, and his GED. Travis is now moving toward his goal of joining the military. We are extremely proud of Travis and look forward to seeing him meet his goal and prosper in the future!

Dayna Alford

Dayna Alford (002)

More than a High School Equivalency Diploma

When Dayna Alford arrived at the Northeast Mississippi Community College (NMCC) in Iuka, she had one goal—earning her High School Equivalency Diploma (HSE). Like many students entering the program, she was forced to leave high school before graduation due to unforeseen circumstances.

She enrolled in the Smart Start to learn essential skills like leadership and teamwork that would prepare her for success in any career she decided to pursue. Although her initial goal was earning an HSE, she learned of other programs, such as the ACT National Career Readiness Certification and MIBEST. These programs prepare people, like Dayna, to secure meaningful careers with family-sustaining pay.

Dayna’s hard work and dedication led to a recommendation for the MIBEST program by her instructors. MIBEST gave Dayna a jumpstart on college and career success by giving her a chance to complete her HSE while enrolling in college as a part-time student.

Dayna earned her HSE in January 2020 and enrolled as a full-time student at NEMCC for the fall of 2020. In five short months, Dayna earned a Smart Start credential, National Career Readiness Credential: Level Gold, and six hours of college credit. She is well on the road to a bright future.

If you want to learn more about Smart Start, HSE, and ACT NCRC programs in your area, email skillup@mccb.edu.

Rajesh “Raj” Ghimire

Rajesh Ghimire

Drafting and Designing a Successful Future

Rajesh “Raj” Ghimire was a junior in high school when his educational path took a turn.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Raj left school for a year. When he returned, determined to obtain his diploma, he met with his high school principal and assistant principal to discuss his options. They told him about the adult education program at Northeast Mississippi Community College (NEMCC).

Dedicated to his future, he enrolled at the Booneville campus and began the Smart Start Program in the fall of 2018. After completing Smart Start and earning certifications such as the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), Raj transitioned into the High School Equivalency (HSE) program.

His instructors saw how hardworking, ambitious, and determined he was and encouraged him to go further than an HSE. With the encouragement of his instructors, Raj met with Taylor Johnson, the MIBEST coordinator at NEMCC, to talk about his future.

“He came to us with several educated questions,” according to Taylor. “He knew that he wanted to further his education at NEMCC, but he also knew that he needed to earn his HSE first. We knew that MIBEST was the program for him.”

Raj managed to hold a full-time job while completing the HSE program. He never missed a day of class, maintained a 4.0 GPA, and ultimately obtained his diploma.

Raj decided to major in Drafting and Design and secured an apprenticeship through the Tiger Apprenticeship Program.

“My plan for the future is to receive a degree for Drafting and Design, and because of NEMCC Adult Education and MIBEST, I am on the right path,” Raj says. “I love everything about the MIBEST program. The teachers are so friendly, helpful, and kind. I honestly cannot believe that I have been given this opportunity. I want to continue to work hard and always make my teachers proud of me and my accomplishments.”

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