Alumni Spotlight

 Ariel Jackson

Ariel Jackson croppedI am a face of Urbana Adult Education…I am the mother of 3 beautiful girls; I am a wife, and I am a grad student. I also, however, jump started my future obtaining my high school diploma through Urbana Adult Education by participating in the Adult Performance Level (APL) program. I came to Urbana Adult Education as a 17 year old teen mom on welfare and in foster care. In addition to being a foster child, I became a mom at the very tender age of 14. Instead of allowing single teen parenting to become a handicap for me, it became my most powerful motivation and inspiration to be the best me I could be, and to provide a better life for both myself and my child. I became an Urbana High School graduate through Urbana Adult Education in 2002. Immediately after graduation, I enrolled full-time at Parkland Community College where I went on to obtain my Associate degree in Criminal Justice in 2004. Though it was a real struggle and I faced many obstacles, I continued on to Eastern Illinois University where I achieved my Bachelor’s degree, and where I am now attending Grad school in the Family and Consumer Science program. Over the years since my graduation from Urbana Adult Education, I have mentored many youth in my community, I have volunteered and advocated for abused and neglected children in my community as a Champaign County CASA volunteer, I’ve inspired many in my community through public speaking, and I have even owned and operated my own small business. My struggles in life have humbled me as a person. However, they have also given me GREAT motivation to continue inspiring young people in my community. When I think of success, I don’t think of the sky, because that is not my limit. I determine my limit. Every day I am seeking a new opportunity to be a part of the change I’d like to see in my community and in my world.

Sidney Stevens

Sidney Stevsidneystevensens attended both Storefront School and the Urbana Adult Education Center.  She earned her high school diploma from the APL Program. Sidney earned her Associate’s Degree at Parkland and moved on to SIU to earn her Bachelor’s Degree. She will be finishing this year and is looking forward to earning a master’s degree in psychology- she is interested in research. This is what she has to say about Urbana Adult Education: “Urbana Adult Education helped prepare me for academic success in several ways. By allowing me to complete my high school education at my own pace, I was able to pinpoint and perfect my own learning style. Before UAE, I hadn’t really considered college as a plan for my future. But thankfully, the teachers and guest speakers at UAE instilled in me the value of education. Enrolling at Parkland is one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I wouldn’t have done it without the guidance and influence of the wonderful staff at UAE. I succeed academically because the staff at UAE invested so much in me and my peers, and I strive to make them proud. On succeeding in college: In college, there is no one universal path to success. That being said, you must remember that being there is not mandatory. You are there to improve yourself, learn valuable skills, and eventually land a job in a career that you will spend the rest of your life in. Take it very, very, VERY seriously. You are there for YOU, and no one else. Be prepared to devote all of your efforts to doing the best you possibly can. Take advantage of all of the resources at your disposal. The people at the college you attend are there with the sole purpose of helping you succeed. Take advantage of their help. Find out who the best professors are and take their classes. Get to know your professors, because they will do whatever they can to help you succeed, and can write the letters of recommendation you will need if you decide to go to graduate school. Join clubs, listen to guest speakers, join a research lab, have a bake sale for a charitable cause. Everything that you do will be a line to your resume that will make you stand out from other applicants, both for jobs and graduate school. Find a study method that works best for you and stick to it. Balance school and social life smartly. Work hard, but don’t forget to give yourself time to relax, and enjoy the college experience. Make your own path to success.”