Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.
Anthony Rifenberry – Adult Basic Education
Graduation and certification are terms this BPA winner didn’t expect to hear.
THEN: He had been an orphan all of his life. Anthony Rifenberry moved from a series of foster homes to the Oklahoma Lions Boys Ranch, now Lions Meadows of Hope. When he turned 18, he needed to find a job.
It was a vicious cycle. To get a job, he needed training, and to get training, he needed money. But the roadblocks didn’t stop there. Anthony wanted to enroll in Meridian Technology Center’s information technology program, but to qualify for the financial assistance he would need, he would have to have a high school diploma.
Anthony enrolled in the Meridian Tech’s adult basic education program, and in only three months, he earned his high school equivalency diploma. The ABE program gave Anthony:
- The confidence to believe he could graduate high school.
- Personal assistance with complex math and other subjects required to pass the HSE exam.
- The knowledge and skills he needed to pass the HSE exam.
The smaller, more intimate classroom environment was one of the keys to Anthony’s academic success.
“I definitely learned more math at Meridian Tech than I did in high school,” he said.
NOW: Anthony is a member of Business Professionals of America, and his network design team won the state contest. The team will compete at BPA’s national conference in Anaheim, California, in May. After he graduates with his network and PC support specialist certification, Anthony would like to continue his education, possibly enrolling in network engineering or cybersecurity.
“I had convinced myself that graduating high school and getting into a technology center was not possible.”