Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Obtaining a high-school diploma


Dropping out of high school was something Amy Sample never really got over.

When she dropped out 19 years ago, Sample was in the 11th grade at Green River High School.

Back then, she didn't know just how important having a high-school diploma would be for her.

"It is very hard these days to get a job without a high-school diploma," Sample said.

This wasn't the only reason for Sample to return to school.

"I wanted to show my kids it's important to stay in school," she said.

Sample has two children in school, a son in the eighth grade and a daughter in the fifth grade in Green River. Her son has struggled with school and became frustrated.

It got to the point where Sample couldn't help her children with their homework because she didn't understand how to do it.

Sample knew she needed to get that high-school diploma equivalent so she decided to take the Western Wyoming Community College High-School Equivalency Program to obtain her Hi S.E.T. certificate. This program has replaced the General Education Diploma program.

For Sample, it took about one and a half years to complete the Hi S.E.T. program. Some students take longer to obtain their Hi S.E.T. certificate, while others may take less time.

Sample enjoyed her science and social studies classes and seemed to excel in them without much effort. They were also her favorite classes.

"Your favorite subject always comes natural to you," Sample said.

However there were some classes she dreaded at first and those centered around a common theme -- math.

"That was horrible," Sample recalled.

However, now she was happy to say she can complete trigonometry, algebra and physics problems. Sample learned to look beyond the initial fear of completing a math problem and find out how to solve it. With this anxiety gone, she excelled in the area she started out disliking the most.

"Our math teachers are amazing," Sample said.

Toward the end of her Hi S.E.T. education, Sample was proud of what she learned in math.

"I did get up and help the math teacher teach the math class," Sample said.

It was this experience which led her to her next job -- a substitute teacher. She took the online substitute-teacher certification courses to become a substitute teacher. Sample said if her experience in the class goes well, she will probably return to college and obtain a teaching degree.

"You get a sense of accomplishment," she said.

Another area Sample struggled with was writing. She had a hard completing the 45-minute essays required of her. Learning how to complete an essay way important if Sample wanted to pass the Hi S.E.T. test.

"You didn't know what subject it was about or what it was on," Sample said.

One of the best parts of Sample returning to school was the friends she made. She even rekindled an old friendship that is still going strong today.

When Sample graduated, it was an emotional experience for her and her family. She wanted to prove to her children that if she could do it after all the years of dropping out, they could hang in their and get their diplomas too.

Sample said she cried through most of the ceremony especially when she was announced as Green River's outstanding graduate. Sample was so proud of this certificate she hung it up in her house immediately.

The certificates are symbols of how hard work can pay off and something Sample is proud of. She proved to herself, her husband and her children she could do it.

Now when it comes to helping out with her children's homework, Sample doesn't bat an eye. Sample knows she can help her children with anything they need.

"I don't have to feel like the dumb parent anymore," Sample said.


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