20Aug MTC Success Story: The Bowens Family by Wendy Weichenthal Kevin Bowens knew he wanted to advance in his career. One thing kept holding him back: a missing high school diploma. “My wife and I started a family at a younger age. I was 18 and she was 19 when our oldest was born. That definitely made it difficult. We were purchasing a house, working full-time jobs, and raising kids – it was difficult to go to school,” Kevin recalled. While it was the right decision for Kevin’s family, it came at a cost for his job options. He couldn’t get the jobs he wanted without a high school diploma or equivalence. Kevin’s wife, Kayla, completed her GED through Marion Technical College and encouraged him to follow his dreams. He found the Aspire program to be just what he needed to earn his Ohio Certificate of High School Equivalence. “It’s customized to each individual’s way of learning. The way my wife learns is different from how I learn,” Kevin shared. “I received all of the help I needed from someone who could explain it in a way that I needed to understand it.” Kevin elected to take the free classes at night, after his work shift ended. It did take commitment and hard work. “It was a little rough to go to work and then go to class and not get home until 9 p.m. at night,” Kevin said. However, the payoff was worth the sacrifice of time and effort says this Mt. Gilead man. “It was amazing. It was nice to have a graduation. It was all-around a great feeling just to know it was finally accomplished. I wouldn’t have gone that far without the help of the teacher in the classes,” Kevin said. Kevin Bowens, left; Kayla Bowens, center; Christian Starlin, right. The Bowens family had a lot to celebrate at the MTC graduation ceremony. Kevin’s wife, Kayla, and his brother-in-law, Christian Starlin, came to celebrate earning their GEDs as well. They had many proud family members there to applaud their success. Kevin is a foreman for a commercial plumbing company. He can now enter an apprenticeship program in Columbus to open up more career opportunities. If you are interested in learning more about the MTC Aspire program, contact Liz Graff at firstname.lastname@example.org or (740) 386-4123.