OUR LEARNER SPOTLIGHT: Juanita Hunter, Graduate
“Never give up” is a phrase most of us have heard or spoken, but no one can make these words reach your soul like Juanita Hunter. Juanita had her first child at age 15 and dropped out of school. She has been a home health aide for 17 years for the same employer. While she enjoys her clients, and they enjoy her service, she realized that a high school diploma stood between her and a higher salary for her work in healthcare.
She worked long, 6-day weeks, attended classes at night, studied when she got home, and still made time for Bible study each Sunday morning. Her daughter and two sons encouraged her along the way.
During her third year of adult education instruction, Juanita started taking the HiSET tests. Some she passed the first time, and others she took two or three times. At age 52, Juanita received her high school diploma having spent 585 hours in classes to achieve this goal.
Although her accomplishment was great, it pales in comparison to the legacy she left for her classmates. When another student appeared down or discouraged, she was the first to encourage them. While Juanita credits her graduation to her classmates, many of her classmates have cited her as one of the reasons they keep going.
After earning her high school diploma, she continued her job as a home health aide and enrolled in evening classes to become a certified nursing assistant. On May 21, she successfully graduated from her CNA classes and will soon take the CNA State Board exam which she expects will lead to higher-paying job. While her new journey is challenging, one thing is certain, Juanita will never give up on herself or those who are fortunate enough to know her.
Juanita Hunter received the 2020 Outstanding Student of the Year Award from the Pennsylvania Association for Adult Continuing Education (PAACE).