Tulsa Tech Helps Student Graduate After 30 Years


BACK TO SCHOOL: Jenks native Thomas Ballard thought he had graduated high school in 1982, but when his high school records indicated that he still needed additional credits, the 50-year-old took advantage of Tulsa Tech’s credit recovery opportunities.

Courtesy Tulsa Tech

When Thomas Ballard contacted his former high school to request a copy of his transcript, the information he received was quite a surprise. According to Jenks Public Schools records, the 50-year old resident of Pryor was lacking two credits in order to meet the state’s requirements for high school graduation.

“I thought I had graduated when I walked across the stage with my class in Jenks back in 1982,” Ballard says. “But sure enough, once we began to check, I still needed two credits in order to graduate.”

Jenks Public School staff suggested Ballard contact one of Tulsa Tech’s Success Centers in order to inquire about its credit recovery program. The centers currently partner with 14 area K-12 schools and Tulsa metropolitan businesses to provide options for individuals seeking education services and career advancement.
“After I discovered that I was lacking credits, everyone at Jenks was especially helpful,” he says. “They gave me some initial information about the credit recovery opportunities available and pointed me toward Tulsa Tech.”

Success Centers provide personal, social service and educational intake assessments to help determine an individual’s interests and abilities. In addition to high school and middle school course credit recovery, the centers also offer career counselors and certified teachers who are equipped to assist with strengthening academic skills, assessing career interests for learning and encouraging employment success. The centers operate year-round, with late afternoon and evening hours available at five Tulsa Tech campus sites strategically located throughout Tulsa County.

The former minister, emergency medical technician (), husband and father of two credits his devotion to a special family member, and his subsequent exploration of possible career changes that would allow him to spend more time with family, for the initial discovery of the issues related to his high school credits.

“Both of my sons are grown, successful men,” says Ballard. “And now at this point in my life, I’ve been given an opportunity to be the primary caregiver for the light of all our lives, my 61-year old uncle, Eddie, who also has Downs Syndrome. He’s smart, so bright and always just a joy to be around.”

Interestingly, one of the absent credits standing between this former and his high school graduation? Health.

“I was afraid they would say I needed algebra or something,” Ballard says. “Once I arrived at the Success Center, I completed the health requirement in two days. My other outstanding credit was academic strategies, and I can say that’s going equally well.”

The Jenks native acknowledges this was certainly an unexpected turn for an individual of his age, and he’s also quick to thank an instructor he met along the way.

“I’m very thankful for everyone’s help,” he says. “But I would especially like to thank Mary Foxworth for being so kind and so generous from the minute I got started. Since I hadn’t been in school awhile, it’s meant a lot to feel this comfortable through the entire process.”

Foxworth, one of Tulsa Tech’s Academic Center instructors and an educator with a passion for helping individuals who wish to learn, is appreciative of the compliment but feels that her duty is to support students, plain and simple.

“Everyone doesn’t follow the same path,” Foxworth says. “Mr. Ballard is just one example, and it’s my job to help each student get back on track, to do the work they need to do to in order to get to wherever they wish to go.”

If you’re currently looking for exciting classes for high school and adult students, quality business and industry training and a chance to make your own path, Tulsa Tech invites you to visit today. For more information, please call 918-828-5000 or visit us online at tulsatech.edu.

Updated 09-01-2014

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