When Robert Fontenot was in high school, he couldn’t wait to get out in the field of work. So at age 16, he became independent from his parents, quit high school, and started working in carpentry. He worked for many years in that field, even owning his own business, until the economy sank.

This led Fontenot to HCC this summer where he decided to get a High School Equivalency Diploma (formerly known as GED®) and start a new career. He finished the diploma and enrolled in HCC’s Welding program in August.

“HCC has been a good fit for me,” Fontenot explains. “It is inexpensive and the small class sizes allow me more one-on-one attention.”

“Robert came to HCC focused and used our free High School Equivalency Diploma preparation classes to review and strengthen his academic skills,” says Rachel S. Clark, HCC Chief GED Examiner. “He is a shining example of how the High School Equivalency Diploma opens the door to success and enables the student to take the next step. The College & Career Readiness staff at Haywood Community College has built strong relationships with departments across the campus to make sure the transition from High School Equivalency Diploma to a continuing education or curriculum program is seamless.” 

While in high school in Texas, Fontenot helped build a stadium for the football team. “That project required a lot of welding and I really enjoyed the hands-on work. I know there will always be a need for welders and you can make a good living at it.”    

Another motivation for Fontenot to return to school came in the form of his children, ages 8 and 11. “I want to teach them that no matter where you are in life, education is important. I want them to stick with it. I want to be an example for them.”

For more information about HCC’s free High School Equivalency Diploma preparation classes, please call 627-4648.