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April 1, 2018

Everyone (except the toddler) has been a JCCC student

Meet the Schmidt family, a walking billboard for Johnson County Community College.

Every member of the family has some connection to JCCC. Mother Vienna Schmidt said, “I don’t know where we’d be without Johnson County Community College. It’s kept us all moving in the same direction educationally, and it’s been there when we needed it.”

All four of her children have enrolled in the Adult Basic Education program sponsored by the College. The oldest three passed their General Education Development test, and the youngest, Ben, hopes to do so soon.

Choosing GED over high school

The Schmidt children moved back and forth between home-schooling and public school in their early years but committed to Adult Basic Education after age 16.

“It’s not just an equivalent – it’s a flexible option,” Vienna said. “One that our children fully appreciated.”

How JCCC propelled them toward success

Here’s how each family member is connected to JCCC:

Josiah – As the oldest child, Josiah blazed the trail. He finished his GED because he wanted a jump-start on JCCC’s Chef Apprenticeship program. “I did my research and found out that JCCC was highly rated nationally for its culinary program,” he said. “I wanted to start as soon as possible.” He now cooks for a local Montessori school.

Lydia – After getting her GED, Lydia tried out many majors, including Animation and Fashion Merchandising and Design before finishing her associate degree in Graphic Design. As a custodian at JCCC, she is eligible for the tuition discount program, so she’s back taking more classes toward her goal of becoming a freelance illustrator. “If anyone’s having trouble in high school, I would definitely suggest this route,” she said. “I was an introvert, which made it tough in high school. But for me, it was different in college.”

Jubilee – In her sophomore year, Jubilee became pregnant. She knew she wanted to continue school, so she enrolled in ABE. Because of her daughter Dawsyn, she knew she wanted to continue to college. JCCC felt familiar, she said, so she enrolled. “I have loved every single class I’ve taken here,” she said. (See her featured in the GED graduation video at time mark 1:28.)

Ben – Ben, the youngest of the siblings, is working on his Metal Fabrication/Welding certificate while he completes ABE classes. Ben also plays bass in a band and works at a sandwich shop, and says the flexibility of ABE helps him manage it all.

Parents, too – Father Lorne is a former custodian at JCCC who used his tuition reimbursement to obtain a certificate in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning in 2013. Mother Vienna attended classes in Photoshop with Lydia and loves reading in Galileo’s Pavilion.

‘You have a place’ at JCCC

“It has just meant so much to me as a mom, when we were through home-schooling, to be able to say, ‘You have a place.’ And that place is right here at JCCC,” Vienna said.

For more information about Adult Basic Education and the GED test preparation program, contact Liz Lanphear, program coordinator, at 913-469-7621.