Success Stories

People across Mississippi are gaining new skills and securing meaningful, family-sustaining careers. Learn more about how Skill UP Mississippi programs are helping people find a pathway to economic security. If you are currently enrolled in or have recently completed one of Skill UP’s programs, submit your story to us using the form below.

Co-Lin Community College

Hinds Community College

Meridian Community College

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Gloria Milanes

I can say that I achieved my Citizenship thanks to the ESL classes at Hinds!


Ervin Briggs

Hats off to Ervin Briggs!


Lee’Darrion McDougle

They talked about benefits like the military paying for college, teaching you a trade, and letting you travel the world.


Amanda Gilbert

This is a true testament to how amazing teachers impact lives and how our words mean so much.

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Dekarr Clayton

Dekarr Clayton was an extraordinary student!

Shanice Gardner headshot

Shanice Gardner

“I didn’t come this far to quit, and quitting is not an option”

Felicia Younger headshot

Felicia Younger

The first time Felicia took the Math portion of the HiSET, she was below passing by one point,


Kayleigh Grimes

Kayleigh Grimes finished her first semester of college recently. At age 16. Not bad for someone who didn’t finish high school.


Osagie “Michael” Momoh

When Osagie “Michael” Momoh arrived in the United States in 2017, he knew he wanted to further his education.

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Candice Hammond

Candice Hammond’s life story is similar to many Jackson County Drug Court participants; however, what sets her apart is her determination and commitment to turning her life around

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Jamie Avila

Jaime Avila dropped out of school in the 10th grade — not because of discipline issues, failing grades, or lack of ambition. He did it for his family.

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Christy Sanders

“I did it. You can do it, too.”


Jalisia Estes

“My teachers kept me motivated. They inspired me to go beyond what I thought I was capable of.”

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Shareka Judon

“I cannot give up.”


Gage Johnson

“You don’t want to just stay in the same spot.”

Reanna Stasney

Reanna Stasney

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


Mariano Arellano

“My life has changed 360 degrees.”


Kati Morgan

“NEMCC’s Adult Education program has helped me give my children the life they deserve!”

Robin kids

Robin Eaton

“Through losing them I learned a lot.”

Adoniyya Edwards

Adoniyya Edwards

“Adoniyya never complained about the amount of work that he needed to do, he simply smiled and said, ‘Whatever it takes.’”

Beth Frutal

Beth Frutal

“I’m thankful I had this opportunity so I can do what I’ve always dreamed of doing.”

Aline Toloto

Aline Toloto

“It was very rewarding to see that all the effort I have put into learning a foreign language was worth it.”

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Kaylee Ridgeway

“I’m thankful I had this opportunity so I can do what I’ve always dreamed of doing.”

Payton Tapp

Payton Tapp

“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Payton Tapp was determined to continue and complete his education.”

Brandon Denton

Brandon Denton

“Brandon Denton is a shining star in my HSE program.”

Travis Davis Picture

Travis Davis

“Travis Davis was determined to continue his education despite the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Mary Bolton

Mary Bolton

Mary’s story exemplifies the benefits of hard work, perseverance, and commitment. Despite all of her adversities, anxieties, and set-backs, Mary was able to obtain her diploma, continue her career, and provide support for her family.


David Chapman Burress

In August of 2020, sixteen-year-old David Chapman Burress decided to start his college plan early and enrolled in the Adult Education program at Northeast Mississippi Community College (NEMCC).

Shengfang Du picture

Shengfang Du

“Being in class has helped me meet new friends, go grocery shopping without any fears and discuss Biology with my grandson who is a sophomore in high school.”

Arvind & Varsha Citizenship

Arvind and Varsha Patel

We believe that attending the ESL classes made it easier for us to pass our citizenship test. We are really glad to attend the ESL class. We would encourage others to join the ESL class in their area.

Quang Thai headshot

Quang Thai

“Learning English is not easy,” Quang said while reflecting on his studies, “but it has helped me further my education, pursue my career, and prepare for the future.”

Qi "Ann" Zhang standing in front of train

Qi “Ann” Zhang

Qi “Ann” Zhang began her ESL education on January 27, 2020. In mid-March, her courses transitioned to online platforms due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ann was not deterred from her goals.

ESL Heritage Party

More than the English Language

For some individuals immigrating to the United States, learning the English language can be challenging. However, the adult education programs at Mississippi’s 15 community colleges are prepared to meet the needs of students learning English as a Second Language (ESL).

Shasta Drummon

Shasta Drummond

Once I completed Smart Start, I enrolled in evening classes at NEMCC…My education will allow me to give my daughter the life I never had. I cannot express in words how much this opportunity at Northeast has meant to me.

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Dayna Alford

When Dayna Alford arrived at the Northeast Mississippi Community College (NMCC) in Iuka, she had one goal—earning her High School Equivalency Diploma (HSE).

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Dustin Hammond

His diploma opened doors. He now had the opportunity to start a college career or apply for a new job. Most importantly, he set an example for his children.

Photo of Tyler Tasmussen at Program

Tyler Rasmussen

Tyler Rasmussen’s goal is to serve the country by joining the U.S. Armed Forces. He now has the credentials he needs to achieve his goal of joining the military.

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Ryan Ryals

Ryan is an example of how hard work and persistence lead to success.

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Megan Brady

Megan’s story is proof of the rewards of hard work, perseverance, and the possibility to thrive despite adversity.

Rajesh Ghimire

Rajesh “Raj” Ghimire

“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.”

Zaily Robinson with Dog

Zaily Robinson

A solid foundation for a successful future.Zaily Robinson has a new outlook for her future, now that she has completed her High School Equivalency Diploma (HSE) at Meridian Community College (MCC)

Catina Carter

Catina Carter

I feel ready for anything life has to offer me because of the things I received while going to Northeast. I will forever be grateful to Northeast Mississippi Community College and the people who work there, for giving me the opportunity for a bright and limitless future!

Ruby Smith

Ruby Smith

Ruby Smith said the director of adult education at Pearl River Community College was a dream. Her dream became a reality July 1.“I want our program to exceed the state target each year,” she said. “We want a record enrollment and record number of graduates. We want students who start the program with us to stay with us. We do that by offering them a warm environment.

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