Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Altoona man receives HSED from CVTC after being clean, sober
Isaiah Williams, 21, receives his High School Equivalency Diploma from Chippewa Valley Technical College after more than a year of being clean and sober from drugs.
Isaiah Williams hasn’t had an easy go of it. When he was a child, he got into trouble. He was removed from his home, and his placement didn’t allow much in the way of schooling, he said.
When he was released, his relationship with public education seemed severed. He had not attended school for years and wasn’t about to start.
So when Williams worked to pass tests to receive his High School Equivalency Diploma from Chippewa Valley Technical College, he even surprised himself.
Williams, 21, finished his testing in March, but will have the diploma sent to his home in Altoona after graduation day on Friday, May 20.
When his daughter was born, Williams felt the push to get his HSED, but he didn’t always have that type of motivator.
“I never liked school at all,” Isaiah said. “I could never sit still. I always had a negative attitude towards school.”
He didn’t think about education at all until he got into “legal trouble as an adult,” he said. He had been using drugs and was given the opportunity to attend recovery court in Chippewa Falls.
The requirement to graduate from recovery court was to have a high school diploma. That’s why Williams, formerly of Chippewa Falls, decided to attend CVTC.
“Prior to me being in recovery court, it wasn’t a priority to me,” he said.
But going to school this time was different. He had met CVTC Instructor Amanda Jiskra during the YouthBuild program in Chippewa Falls. It’s a community educational alternative program for low-income and out-of-school youths between the ages of 16 and 24. The program provides leadership development, education and employment opportunities as well as balances academic learning and occupational skills training.
Jiskra, who teaches adult education and college prep, appreciates Williams’ fortitude.
“Isaiah faced various challenges during the pursuit of his credential. He took a few breaks along the way, but he never gave up,” she said. “I’ve been so impressed with his determination to earn his degree. I’m very proud of him for working so hard to change his life and the life of his daughter.”
Williams, who works at Menards now, said he feels like his life is on track. To some extent, he credits CVTC for that.
“I felt comfortable going to CVTC because it was more of one-on-one help. It wasn’t a whole classroom,” he said. “I wasn’t that comfortable with math. Letters and numbers don’t make sense to me. I ended up scoring the highest grade on the math test of all that I took.
“I think a lot of it has to do with the teacher – the way she explained things to me.”
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