Graduation Day

Graduates of this year's Crawfordsville Adult Resource Academy line up prior to Thursday's graduation ceremony at Crawfordsville High School.

Sisters Stephanie Barnett and Jessica Hensley walked across the auditorium stage together Thursday as high school graduates.

“I’m a high school graduate,” Barnett said. “Doesn’t that feel weird to say? I’m 28 years old and I’ve never been able to say that until now.”

Barnett and Hensley both spoke to those who gathered for a graduation ceremony at Crawfordsville High School. They were part of an overall class of 52 graduates earning a high school equivalency diploma through the Crawfordsville Adult Resource Academy.

Hensley recently realized she needed to do what she was asking of her own children. 

“As a mother, I’m constantly stressing the importance of education to my kids,” Hensley said. “I want them to be better and more successful than I am. But I came to a realization — I want to be better and more successful than I am. Instead of asking (my kids) to learn from my mistakes, I should be working to fix my mistakes.”

The Indiana HSE, formerly known as the GED, is an alternative available for earning a high school diploma. Karen Crawford, an instructor at the Crawfordsville Adult Resource Academy said CARA is also offering more certifications for students as well.

For Barnett, she’s one step closer to her dream. She’s enrolled in her first college courses and working toward becoming a surgical technologist.

“I could go into the struggles that I had to face to get here, starting with the excuses of why I never obtained something that most people do as teenagers,” Barnett said. “But you don’t need to hear those. What matters is that we overcame. We did it. With one decision we stopped being statistics and started being role models. With one decision we can turn our dreams into realities.”

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