Robin Ondersma has a goal: to own her own home in the country and teach her grandchildren how to garden. She is taking steps toward that goal as she just graduated with her Ohio High School Diploma through the Warren County Career Center Adult Diploma Program. Along with her diploma, she earned certification in MIG welding and is now seeking a job as a welder. She wants to earn even more welding certifications and build her workforce skills to become financially stable in a good career and buy her dream home.
Robin faced many challenges in her life, and as she sees the possibilities opening up for her future, she not only wants to succeed with her own goals; she wants to give back by helping others who are struggling. She plans to get involved in a cause that will help lift people out of poverty, and inspire them to reach for their dreams.
“This diploma means, ‘Never give up on your dream,’” she said. “I learned that if you work hard, you can accomplish anything. The hardest part is believing in yourself. Everyone at the Warren County Career Center believed in me, even when I felt like I couldn’t do it.”
She said her Aspire instructor, Linda McBride, went beyond expectations as a teacher, and became a friend, encouraging her to keep going. Her WCCC welding instructors gave her great advice and instruction, and she passed the course and exam to earn her certification. Welding Program Coordinator Dave Guinn attends the same church as Robin, and had recommended in September of 2021 that she enroll in the Adult Diploma Program. He followed her progress, attended her Aspire graduation and is now helping her find job placement.
“My advice to anyone considering going back to school is, don’t let age discourage you,” she said. “If you want it badly enough, you can do it. You are as young as you feel. I was nervous at first, but a few days in, I knew it would be fine.”