Just a couple short years ago, Medical Assistant student Joanne Martinez was pretty much resigned to being a high school dropout. When she was but a sophomore in high school, she had to move out of her family's house and was left with no transportation to get to school. She went to work as a cashier at a local restaurant.
But, all the while, high school and finishing what she'd started was never far from her thoughts.
"I always knew I wanted to graduate from high school," she said.
Discovering Penn Foster
Martinez had a family member who had completed the Penn Foster high school completion program offered out of Concorde's Grand Prairie, Texas campus. She told Martinez how well the program worked for her, that it had enabled her to call herself a high school graduate and had opened doors for continuing her education and bettering her stake in life.
Martinez was sold. She went down to the Concorde - Grand Prairie campus and signed up for the program. Once she got started, she immersed herself in learning and education once again. And, despite having two years of traditional high school left to complete, she finished the Penn Foster program and earned her high school diploma in just two months.
"I worked all day," she said, "then stayed up nights studying. It was really hard, but it felt really good to graduate."
The call to become a medical assistant
Since Martinez, now 19, was back in full learning mode, she decided it was best that she stay there. And on the very day she graduated from her high school program, she started her program to become a Medical Assistant at Concorde.
"I wanted to get into a medical field," she said. "I really didn't know much about it, but I've learned a lot so far."
Martinez said she's entering the third module of her Medical Assistant program. She's due to graduate in March. Before that, however, she has an externship to perform, starting in January, and hopes that it leads to the first job in her new Medical Assistant career.
"I hope to go and work in a hospital," she said. "I eventually want to look into becoming a paramedic."
Realizing a dream
What Martinez is looking forward to most, however, is the day later this month when she walks across the stage at an official graduation ceremony and accepts her high school diploma.
"I didn't even think I'd graduate high school,' she said. "Now, I get to walk across the stage, so I'm pretty proud of that."